Epidemiological study of hepatitis B virus genotypes, core promoter and precore mutations of chronic hepatitis B infection in Hong Kong

J Hepatol. 2004 Jul;41(1):119-25. doi: 10.1016/j.jhep.2004.03.004.


Background/aims: We conducted a population study to document the prevalence of hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes in Hong Kong.

Methods: HBV genotypes, core promoter (CP) and precore mutations were determined in 776 asymptomatic patients.

Results: 92.6% patients had single genotype [B (32.5%), C (62.5%)]. 99.1% of genotype B was subtype Ba. Patients with age <50 years had a lower prevalence of genotype B than patients with age >51 years (32.5% vs. 41%, respectively, P=0.028). Compared to patients with genotype C, patients with genotype B had a higher cumulative rate (P=0.018) and younger age (40.1 vs. 34.2 years, respectively, P=0.018) of HBeAg seroconversion. There were no differences in the HBV DNA levels between patients with genotypes B and C, and with wild-type and mutants of CP and precore regions. By multivariate analysis, patients with genotype C and with CP mutations had higher alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels.

Conclusions: B and C were the two most common HBV genotypes in Hong Kong. The former had a higher chance of earlier HBeAg seroconversion and lower ALT levels. The prevalence of genotype B was lower in patients with age <50, probably related to influx of immigrants from China since 1949.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Bilirubin / blood
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA, Viral / blood
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / blood
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens / genetics
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / epidemiology*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / immunology
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / virology*
  • Hong Kong / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multivariate Analysis
  • Mutation
  • Prevalence
  • Promoter Regions, Genetic / genetics
  • Serum Albumin


  • DNA, Viral
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens
  • Serum Albumin
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Bilirubin