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    ABSTRACT: Chronic hepatitis B (CHB) is a condition of global prevalence and its sequelae include cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma. The natural history of CHB is a complex interplay of virological, environmental and host factors. The dynamic relationship between the virus and host evolves over the duration of the infection and different phases of the disease have been observed and described. These have been conceptualized in terms of the state of balance between the host immune system and the hepatitis B virus and have been given the labels immune tolerant, immune clearance, immune control and immune escape although other nomenclature is also used. Host factors, such as age at infection, determine progression to chronicity. Virological factors including hepatitis B viral load, mutations and genotype also have an impact on the adverse outcomes of the infection, as do hepatotoxic cofactors such as alcohol. Our understanding of the natural history of CHB has evolved significantly over the past few decades and characterizing the phase of disease of CHB remains an integral part of managing this virus in the clinic.
    World Journal of Gastroenterology 08/2014; 20(30):10395-10404. DOI:10.3748/wjg.v20.i30.10395 · 2.43 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: To investigate the role of pre-core and basal core promoter (BCP) mutations before and after hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) seroconversion. The proportion of pre-core (G1896A) and basal core promoter (A1762T and G1764A) mutant viruses and serum levels of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA, hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), and HB core-related antigen were analyzed in chronic hepatitis B patients before and after HBeAg seroconversion (n = 25), in those who were persistently HBeAg positive (n = 18), and in those who were persistently anti-HBe positive (n = 43). All patients were infected with HBV genotype C and were followed for a median of 9 years. Although the pre-core mutant became predominant (24% to 65%, P = 0.022) in the HBeAg seroconversion group during follow-up, the proportion of the basal core promoter mutation did not change. Median HBV viral markers were significantly higher in patients without the mutations in an HBeAg positive status (HBV DNA: P = 0.003; HBsAg: P < 0.001; HB core-related antigen: P = 0.001). In contrast, HBV DNA (P = 0.012) and HBsAg (P = 0.041) levels were significantly higher in patients with the pre-core mutation in an anti-HBe positive status. There is an opposite association of the pre-core mutation with viral load before and after HBeAg seroconversion in patients with HBV infection.