Chronic hepatitis in HBsAg carriers with serum HBV-DNA and anti-HBe

Gastroenterology. 1986 May;90(5 Pt 1):1268-73. doi: 10.1016/0016-5085(86)90395-1.


We compared the clinical and serologic features of 118 hepatitis B surface antigen carriers with hepatitis B e antibody (anti-HBe) followed up for 3-10 yr (mean 6.1 yr), separated according to the presence or absence of hepatitis B virus-deoxyribonucleic acid (HBV-DNA) in serum. The test was performed by molecular hybridization. There were 28 carriers with and 90 without viral DNA. Carriers with serum anti-HBe/HBV-DNA had major liver disease; cirrhosis developed during the follow-up period in 9 of the patients. All had the hepatitis B "core" antigen in the liver, localized prevalently in the cytoplasm of the hepatocytes. Among carriers of anti-HBe alone, 73 had persistently normal tests of liver function and 17 had abnormal levels of alanine transaminase and usually minor forms of liver damage at histology. In a group of 24 carriers of hepatitis B e antigen who spontaneously seroconverted to anti-HBe, hepatitis and a prevalent nuclear distribution of intrahepatic hepatitis B core antigen were found in temporal correlation with the presence of hepatitis B e antigen in serum. The replication of the hepatitis B virion terminated and liver disease remitted after seroconversion to anti-HBe. A positive HBV-DNA test in anti-HBe carriers is associated with a severe and evolutive liver disease and may provide an indication for treatment with drugs inhibiting the synthesis of HBV-DNA.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Carrier State / immunology*
  • Chronic Disease
  • DNA, Viral / blood*
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Hepatitis B / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / analysis*
  • Hepatitis B Antigens / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B Core Antigens / analysis
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / analysis*
  • Hepatitis B e Antigens / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B virus*
  • Hepatitis, Chronic / immunology
  • Humans
  • Liver / immunology
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies


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