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J Hepatol. 1997 Mar;26(3):517-26.

De novo and apparent de novo hepatitis B virus infection after liver transplantation.

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Centre Hépato-Biliaire, Faculté de Médecine, Université Paris Sud, France.



The aim of this study was to clarify the aetiology of apparent de novo HBV infection after liver transplantation.


Twenty out of 570 HBsAg negative patients (3.5%) became HBsAg positive after transplantation and were studied. Donor and recipient sera were retrospectively tested for HBsAg, anti-HBs, anti-HBc, and HBV DNA by PCR. Donor and recipient livers were tested for HBV DNA by PCR on paraffin-embedded tissue.


Group 1: HBV infection of donor origin (eight patients): one donor serum was HBsAg positive, three were serum HBV DNA positive, four were liver HBV DNA positive. Group 2: reactivation of latent HBV infection (eight patients) with detection of HBV DNA in pretransplant serum (seven patients) or in native liver (one patient): three were anti-HBs positive, two anti-HBc positive, and three with fulminant hepatitis had no serological HBV markers. Group 3: undetermined origin (four patients) defined by absence of HBV DNA in pretransplant donor and/or recipient sera and liver; however, acquired infection was suspected from two anti-HBs and anti-HBc positive donors. Two patients became HBsAg negative, and five HBV DNA negative. One died from HBV-cirrhosis and two were retransplanted. In the others, the last histology showed cirrhosis (three), chronic hepatitis (nine), acute hepatitis (one), and non-specific change (four patients).


The prevalence of de novo HBV infection in liver transplant patients was 3.5%; the aetiology was determined in 16/20 patients: from the donor in eight, and from the recipient in eight. One should be cautious when donors or recipients are anti-HBc or both anti-HBs and anti-HBc positive.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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