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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Persistent viremia after recovery from self-limited acute hepatitis B.

To define the duration of viremia in the course of acute hepatitis B, we semiquantitatively determined the levels of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA in the sera, using polymerase chain reaction (PCR) coupled with Southern blotting, of non-immunocompromised patients with self-limited acute hepatitis B. In the sera of 10 of 11 patients, HBV DNA, which was presumably coated with viral proteins, was detected for a long period after recovery, even at the final observation times, which ranged from 6 to 19 months after disease onset. To characterize the mode of HBV that was present in serum, we immunoprecipitated immune complexes in sera by the addition of anti-human immunoglobulin G (IgG) and determined the levels of HBV DNA separately in the supernatants and pellets. In the acute phase of hepatitis B, high levels of HBV DNA were detected both in the supernatants and pellets at comparative levels. After the convalescent phase, the amount of HBV DNA in the supernatant decreased with respect to that in the pellets. It is notable that, in most cases, serum HBV persisted as a form of immune complex even after the seroconversion to antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen (anti-HBs). These data suggest that the replication of HBV may persist in some organs, most likely in the liver or peripheral blood cells, for a long period after recovery from acute hepatitis B, and the data indicate the possible transmission of HBV from organ transplantation donors who exhibit serological markers of past infection only.[1]


  1. Persistent viremia after recovery from self-limited acute hepatitis B. Yotsuyanagi, H., Yasuda, K., Iino, S., Moriya, K., Shintani, Y., Fujie, H., Tsutsumi, T., Kimura, S., Koike, K. Hepatology (1998) [Pubmed]
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