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Why most patients with hepatitis delta virus infection are seronegative for hepatitis B e antigen. A prospective controlled study



Why most patients with hepatitis delta virus infection are seronegative for hepatitis B e antigen. A prospective controlled study



Journal of Hepatology 12(1): 106-109



A prospective age/sex matched control and follow-up study was conducted to explore the reason(s) for the association of hepatitis delta virus (HDV) infection with hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) negative hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) carrier state. Over a 3-year period, a total of 110 patients (104 males and six females) with acute HDV superinfection were documented in our unit. Twenty-four (21.8%) of them were HBeAg positive at the onset of acute HDV infection. In the control study, 110 age- and sex-matched asymptomatic HBsAg carriers with normal serum transaminase, as well as 110 age- and sex-matched patients with chronic type B hepatitis were randomly selected from the computer files of the same 3-year period of entry. The prevalence of serum HBeAg in patients with HDV infection was similar to that of asymptomatic HBsAg carriers (20.9%), but significantly lower than that of the patients with chronic type B hepatitis (72.7%). In a follow-up study of 16 HBeAg-positive patients with HDV infection, eight (50%) cleared HBeAg and three (18.8%) seroconverted to anti-HBe within 3 months. The HBeAg clearance rate was significantly higher than for chronic type B hepatitis and asymptomatic carriers (p less than 0.01). The results suggest that the low prevalence of serum HBeAg in HDV infection simply reflects the HBeAg/anti-HBe status of the asymptomatic HBsAg carriers in the population under study. Also in some patients HDV superinfection may itself suppress HBV and thus clear HBeAg.

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Accession: 008006038

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PMID: 2007766


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