A high positive correlation was found between e antigen (HBe Ag) and DNA polymerase in hemodialyzed patients with acute hepatitis B, chronic carriers of hepatitis B surface antigen undergoing hemodialysis, and patients with chronic hepatitis. In contrast, the correlation was poor in nonhemodialyzed patients with acute hepatitis. Among the patients with chronic hepatitis, HBe Ag and DNA polymerase were were found mostly in those with aggressive hepatitis and rarely in those with persistent hepatitis. This difference was significant (P less than 0.01) and suggests that the persistence of these antigens may be a factor in the progression of the disease. Our data also indicate that the development of antibodies to HBe Ag (anti-HBe) might be a sign of a favorable prognosis, since 50% of the patients with persistent hepatitis vs. 6% of the patients with aggressive hepatitis were anti-HBe-positive. Inhibitors of DNA polymerase, which are possibly antibodies, appeared regularly after acute hepatitis and were transient. Their presence may be associated with viral replication.