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Mutations in the basic core promotor and the precore region of hepatitis B virus and their selection in children with fulminant and chronic hepatitis B



Mutations in the basic core promotor and the precore region of hepatitis B virus and their selection in children with fulminant and chronic hepatitis B



Hepatology 29(4): 1252-1258



The involvement of precore stop codon 1896-A and base exchanges in the AT-rich region at positions 1762 and 1764 of the hepatitis B core promotor has been controversely discussed in adults with fulminant hepatitis B. Because no data are currently available on children, we analyzed the basic core promotor (BCP) and precore region in children with chronic and fulminant hepatitis B. The BCP and precore region were sequenced directly and after cloning from mothers and infants. Thirteen children suffered from chronic liver disease, 6 of whom were treated with interferon alfa (IFN-alpha). All 13 patients seroconverted from hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) to hepatitis B e antigen antibodies (anti-HBe), and sera were analyzed before and after seroconversion. Nine vertically infected infants developed a fulminant course of hepatitis B. The occurrence of BCP (1762-T/1764-A, 7.7%) and precore (1896-A, 7.7%; 1899-A, 15%) mutations in chronic hepatitis B was rare. A genotype shift from D to A was observed in 3 patients after development of anti-HBe. A high number of base exchanges was detected in those infants with fulminant hepatitis B. Eight of nine showed a G-A exchange at positions 1896/97 (89%), 1899 (56%), and/or mutations at nucleotide (nt) positions 1762 (56%) and 1764 (78%). All virus strains belonged to genotype D, whereas in the only surviving infant, a D-to-A shift was detected. Hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA clones were examined from 3 babies and 5 mothers. Our results showed a heterogeneous virus population in 4 of 5 mothers. In contrast, a homogeneous virus population emerged in the infants. According to our data, the analysis in children with fulminant and chronic hepatitis B revealed a striking presence of BCP and precore mutants in infants with fulminant hepatitis (FH) when compared with clinically inapparent anti-HBe-positive children (P <.002), which could be one factor in the pathogenesis of fulminant hepatitis B in children.

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Accession: 011030765

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PMID: 10094972

DOI: 10.1002/hep.510290418


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