Post-transplant recurrent hepatitis B viral liver disease. Viral-burden, steatoviral, and fibroviral hepatitis B

Am J Pathol. 1992 Jun;140(6):1295-308.


Recurrence of hepatitis is a well-documented complication of hepatitis B liver disease, post-transplantation. It is well established also that the earliest hepatocellular change is the appearance of hepatitis B viral (HBV) markers and that the disease is rapidly progressive. In this article on 17 liver transplants in 16 HBV positive patients with long-term follow-ups (100-1234 days), the distinctive pathologic features of this disease are emphasized: the extreme viral load, the steatosis, and/or fibrosis. An attempt to quantitate the magnitude of the viral burden was made and the result was a staggering figure. In one patient, an estimated 10(18) HBV core particles were present in the liver. One of two patterns of progression were noted. In four patients in addition to the massive nuclear hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) and cytoplasmic hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) positivity, superimposed hepatitic changes led to diffuse hepatic fibrosis (fibroviral hepatitis B); and in another six patients, extraordinary hepatocellular viral marker positivity and steatosis were the hallmarks (steatoviral hepatitis B). Steatosis is not usually considered a feature of HBV liver pathology. These results suggest that more than one type of posttransfusion recurrent hepatitis B liver disease exists pathologically.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Fatty Liver / etiology
  • Fatty Liver / pathology
  • Hepatitis B / complications
  • Hepatitis B / microbiology
  • Hepatitis B / pathology*
  • Hepatitis B virus / isolation & purification
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / etiology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / pathology
  • Liver Transplantation*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Postoperative Period
  • Staining and Labeling
  • Time Factors