Transmission of hepatitis B from hepatitis-B-seronegative subjects

Lancet. 1988 Dec 3;2(8623):1273-6. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(88)92891-7.


The polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to identify and characterise serum HBV DNA sequences in 3 patients negative for all HBV serological markers. HBsAg determinants were detected in 1 individual by monoclonal anti-HBsAg immunoradiometric assay. By use of sets of primers on the S and pre-S parts of the HBV genome the presence of HBV DNA was demonstrated in the serum of all 3 patients. Inoculation of human sera to 2 chimpanzees induced acute hepatitis in both animals; 1 became positive for HBsAg and anti-HBcAg and the other only for anti-HBsAg. Cloning of DNA sequences from viral isolates from 1 chimpanzee and 1 patient was accomplished after amplification of the 3' region of the S gene. Comparison of the partial nucleotide sequence with that of known HBV subtypes showed 0 and 1 point mutation, respectively, in the highly conserved 3' end of the S gene. Therefore the results show that PCR with HBV primers may unambigously identify HBV infectious particles among non-A, non-B viruses and is a potentially useful diagnostic test for detection of HBV DNA sequences in serum.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA Probes
  • DNA, Viral / blood
  • DNA, Viral / genetics*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / blood
  • Hepatitis B / immunology
  • Hepatitis B / transmission*
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / analysis*
  • Hepatitis B Core Antigens / immunology
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / analysis
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / immunology
  • Hepatitis B virus / genetics*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nucleic Acid Hybridization
  • Pan troglodytes
  • Radioimmunoassay


  • DNA Probes
  • DNA, Viral
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Core Antigens
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens