Longitudinal study of hepatitis activity and viral replication before and after HBeAg seroconversion in chronic hepatitis B patients infected with genotypes B and C

J Clin Microbiol. 2004 Nov;42(11):5036-40. doi: 10.1128/JCM.42.11.5036-5040.2004.


The aims of this study were to compare chronic hepatitis B (CHB) patients with genotypes B and C for the probability of HBeAg seroconversion, hepatitis activity, and viral replication before and after HBeAg seroconversion and to compare the prevalence of core promoter and precore mutations. A total of 180 asymptomatic Chinese patients with CHB were monitored for a median of 53.8 months, and 38 patients with cirrhosis-related complications were studied. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA levels were measured in 16 patients with HBeAg seroconversion at 3 months before, during, and 3 months after HBeAg seroconversion and in all patients at the last follow-up. Hepatitis B genotypes and core promoter and precore mutations were determined. Compared to patients with genotype C (n = 109), patients with subtype Ba (n = 69) had a higher rate of anti-HBe positivity on presentation (P = 0.05). HBeAg-positive patients with subtype Ba had a higher cumulative rate of HBeAg seroconversion than patients with genotype C (P = 0.02). However, there were no differences between the two groups with regard to the median HBV DNA levels before, during, and after HBeAg seroconversion; the probability of having persistently normal or elevated aminotransferase levels; and the median HBV DNA levels and liver biochemistry at the last follow-up. There was no difference in the prevalence of genotypes and core promoter and precore mutations between patients with and without cirrhosis-related complications. Though patients with subtype Ba had earlier HBeAg seroconversion, the liver biochemistry, HBV DNA levels in different phases of the disease, and the probability of development of cirrhosis-related complications were the same with genotypes Ba and C.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • DNA, Viral / blood
  • Female
  • Genotype
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens / blood*
  • Hepatitis B virus / classification*
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics
  • Hepatitis B virus / isolation & purification
  • Hepatitis B virus / pathogenicity*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / physiopathology*
  • Hepatitis B, Chronic / virology
  • Humans
  • Liver / enzymology
  • Liver Cirrhosis / physiopathology*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / virology
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Virus Replication*


  • DNA, Viral
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens