Effect of human leukocyte interferon on hepatitis B virus infection in patients with chronic active hepatitis

N Engl J Med. 1976 Sep 2;295(10):517-22. doi: 10.1056/NEJM197609022951001.


Four patients with chronic hepatitis B infection and chronic active hepatitis were treated with human leukocyte interferon. Three of them had consistently elevated levels of circulating Dane-particle markers, including Dane-particle-associated DNA polymerase activity, hepatitis B core antigen and Dane-particle-associated DNA. Parenteral interferon administration at a dosage between 6.0 X 10(3) and 17 X 10(4) U per kilogram per day was associated with a rapid and reproducible fall in all Dane-particle markers in the three patients. The suppressive effect was transient when the interferon was given for 10 days or less but appeared to be more permanent when administration was prolonged for a month or more. In addition, long-term interferon therapy was associated with a marked fall in hepatitis B surface antigen in two of three patients and a disappearance of e antigen in two of two patients. Interferon may be useful in limiting carrier infectivity or eradicating chronic infection.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / analysis
  • Chronic Disease
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases / blood
  • Drug Evaluation
  • Hepatitis B / blood
  • Hepatitis B / enzymology
  • Hepatitis B / therapy*
  • Hepatitis B Antigens / analysis
  • Hepatitis B virus / enzymology
  • Humans
  • Interferons / administration & dosage
  • Interferons / therapeutic use*
  • Leukocytes
  • Time Factors


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Hepatitis B Antigens
  • Interferons
  • DNA Nucleotidyltransferases