Association between hepatitis B virus and essential mixed cryoglobulinemia

N Engl J Med. 1977 Jun 30;296(26):1501-4. doi: 10.1056/NEJM197706302962605.


In view of a high frequency of liver involvement in patients with essential mixed cryoglubulinemia, we looked for evidence for hepatitis B virus infection in 25 serum specimens and 19 cryoprecipitates obtained from 30 patients. Three of the 25 serum specimens contained Hbs Ag, and 12 had antibody. The frequency of positive results was increased to six and 11 of 19 respectively when cryoprecipitates were examined, and 14 of 19 (74 per cent) of the cryoprecipitates were positive for either HBs Ag or its antibody. Electron microscopy of four cryoprecipitates showed structures resembling the 20-nm and 27-nm spheres, tubules, as well as the Dane particles characteristic of hepatitis B virus infection. Since such infection appears to be involved in the pathogenesis of the syndrome, the term "essential mixed cryoglobulinemia" should be replaced by "mixed cryoglobulinemia secondary to hepatitis B virus" or perhaps to other viral infections.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anemia, Hemolytic, Autoimmune / etiology
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Cryoglobulins*
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / immunology
  • Hepatitis B Antigens / analysis
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / analysis
  • Hepatitis B virus* / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / analysis
  • Immunoglobulin M / analysis
  • Joints / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain
  • Paraproteinemias / etiology*
  • Paraproteinemias / immunology
  • Purpura / immunology
  • Syndrome


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Cryoglobulins
  • Hepatitis B Antigens
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M