Hepatitis B virus genotype B is associated with earlier HBeAg seroconversion compared with hepatitis B virus genotype C

Gastroenterology. 2002 Jun;122(7):1756-62. doi: 10.1053/gast.2002.33588.


Background & aims: Recent studies suggest that hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotype B is associated with less active liver disease than HBV genotype C. The aim of our study was to determine if HBV genotype B is associated with higher rates of spontaneous hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) seroconversion compared with genotype C.

Methods: A retrospective study using stored sera from 332 Chinese patients with chronic HBV infection followed for a mean of 48 months (range, 12-98) were tested for HBV genotype using a line-probe assay.

Results: HBV DNA was detected in 273 patients, 122 had HBV genotype B and 147 genotype C. Patients with genotype B had a significantly lower prevalence of HBeAg at presentation and significantly higher rates of spontaneous HBeAg seroconversion during follow-up. HBV genotype B patients who were HBeAg positive were significantly younger, and spontaneous HBeAg seroconversion occurred approximately 1 decade earlier compared with HBV genotype C patients. Multivariate analyses identified high alanine aminotransferase (baseline and follow-up), age >30 years, and genotype B as independent factors associated with spontaneous HBeAg seroconversion.

Conclusions: HBV genotype B is associated with earlier HBeAg seroconversion than genotype C. This finding may explain the less active/progressive liver disease in patients with genotype B.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Forecasting
  • Genotype
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens / analysis*
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies


  • Hepatitis B e Antigens