Incidence and significance of antibodies to delta antigen in hepatitis B virus infection

Lancet. 1979 Nov 10;2(8150):986-90. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(79)92561-3.


A microtitre solid-phase blocking radioimmunoassay (RIA) for antibody to the hepatitis B virus (HBV)-associated delta antigen was specific and detected anti-delta antibody at dilutions of serum of up to 10(6). Analysis of sera from HBsAg-negative subjects and different categories of HBsAg carriers from different regions confirmed the association of anti-delta antibody with HBV infection. Anti-delta antibody was detected in persistently high titres in 19.1% and 2.6% of sera from patients with chronic hepatitis and symptomatic chronic carriers, respectively, and was not detected in the sera of HBsAg-negative controls. Anti-delta antibody appeared transiently and in low titres (less than 1:500) in 4.8% of sera from patients with acute type B hepatitis. The presence and persistence of anti-delta antibody seem to be associated with chronic HBV infection and the development of progressive liver damage.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / immunology*
  • Carrier State / immunology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Epitopes
  • Female
  • Hepatitis B / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B Antigens / immunology*
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens / immunology
  • Hepatitis B virus / immunology
  • Humans
  • Italy
  • Japan
  • Liver / immunology
  • Male
  • United States


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Epitopes
  • Hepatitis B Antibodies
  • Hepatitis B Antigens
  • Hepatitis B Surface Antigens