Natural course and response to interferon of chronic hepatitis B accompanied by antibody to hepatitis B e antigen

Hepatology. 1989 Aug;10(2):198-202. doi: 10.1002/hep.1840100213.


The course of chronic hepatitis B was studied in 30 patients who had antibody to hepatitis e antigen and hepatitis B virus DNA in the serum and hepatitis B core antigen in the liver. Over a 2-year period, no patient experienced a sustained spontaneous remission of disease, and follow-up liver histology revealed worsening of the disease in four patients. After 2 years of observation, 24 patients were allocated randomly to one of two groups: 12 patients served as untreated controls and 12 received recombinant human alpha-interferon-2a in a dose of 9 million units intramuscularly three times weekly for 16 weeks. Patients who remained viremic after 16 weeks received 3 million units three times weekly for an additional 8 weeks. Abnormal amino-transferases and serum hepatitis B virus DNA persisted without appreciable changes in all untreated patients. Hepatitis B virus DNA rapidly became undetectable and serum aminotransferases fell to normal in eight treated patients. After the end of treatment, hepatitis B virus DNA became detectable once again in seven patients, in six of whom a peak of aminotransferases (range: 256 to 850 units per liter) ensued; subsequently, hepatitis B virus DNA disappeared, and serum aminotransferases again fell to normal in two of the seven. Overall, hepatitis B virus DNA was no longer detectable in serum and liver histology improved in three treated patients.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Chronic Disease
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / analysis*
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics
  • Hepatitis B* / enzymology
  • Hepatitis B* / immunology
  • Hepatitis B* / physiopathology
  • Hepatitis B* / therapy
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin M / analysis
  • Interferon Type I / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Random Allocation


  • DNA, Viral
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens
  • Immunoglobulin M
  • Interferon Type I
  • Alanine Transaminase