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Hepat Mon. 2016 Mar 29;16(3):e34763. doi: 10.5812/hepatmon.34763. eCollection 2016 Mar.

Characterization of Occult Hepatitis B Infection Among Injecting Drug Users in Tehran, Iran.

Author information

1
Infectious Diseases and Tropical Medicine Research Center, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran.
2
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University, Tehran, IR Iran.
3
Department of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran.
4
Department of Immunology, Faculty of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a major health problem worldwide.

OBJECTIVES:

The aim of this study was to investigate the frequency of occult hepatitis B infection (OBI) and its associated risk factors, together with the molecular characterization of the virus in injecting drug users of Tehran.

PATIENTS AND METHODS:

The study consisted of 229 injecting drug users. Serum samples were collected and tested for the presence of hepatitis B core antibody (HBcAb) and hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). HBV B virus DNA was extracted from the serum samples, and a fragment of the S gene was amplified using the nested polymerase chain reaction. The genotype, subgenotypes, subtype, and S gene mutation of HBV were determined by direct sequencing. A phylogenetic tree was constructed using the neighbor-joining method.

RESULTS:

Sixty-four (28%) participants were HBcAb positive, 59 cases were HBcAb positive and HBsAg negative, and 5 cases were HBsAg positive. Hepatitis B DNA was found in three HBsAg-positive cases. Thirteen of 59 (22%) individuals were hepatitis B DNA positive. The phylogenetic tree of hepatitis B DNA showed the existence of genotype D. The only significant correlation was between sharing a syringe and OBI.

CONCLUSIONS:

In comparison with the rate of HBcAb positivity reported in other Iranian studies, the rate was higher in the present study. There were a few variations, genotypes, and subtypes among the infected injecting drug users. Further investigations are needed to unravel the molecular characterization of OBI.

KEYWORDS:

Genotype; Hepatitis B; Hepatitis B Surface Antigen; Injecting Drug User

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