[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Under immunosuppressive conditions after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation (HSCT), even if hepatitis B virus (HBV) antigen is negative but hepatitis B surface antibody (HBsAb) or hepatitis B core antibody (HBcAb) is presented, HBV reactivates and sometimes causes fulminant hepatitis. However, it remains unclear which patients will develop fulminant hepatitis, or whether fulminant hepatitis is caused by host-related factors or by virus-related factors. A 30-yr-old man with a history of aplastic anemia since 3 yr of age underwent allogenic BMT, when HBsAb and HBcAb were positive but HBs antigen (HBsAg) was negative. The donor was negative for HBsAg, HBsAb and HBcAb. After transplantation, the patient was complicated by acute graft-vs.-host disease (GVHD), cytomegalovirus infection, intestinal thrombotic microangiopathy and aspergillus colitis. Chronic GVHD was well controlled by FK506 and prednisolone. Twenty months after transplantation, the patient was admitted with general fatigue and liver dysfunction and was found to be positive for HBsAg and HBeAg. His serum HBV-DNA level was >8.8 log of the genome equivalent (LGE)/mL. Therefore, he was diagnosed as having hepatitis B caused by HBV reactivation and 100 mg/d lamivudine treatment was started. However, jaundice and hepatic failure deteriorated and became fatal. On analysis of the HBV-DNA, two adjacent gene mutations in the core promoter region (T1762/A1764) were detected. Increased replication of the mutated HBV might have caused HBV reactivation which progressed to fulminant hepatitis.
European Journal Of Haematology 09/2006; 77(3):255-8. · 2.55 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Changes in the serum hepatitis B virus (HBV) RNA level during lamivudine therapy were compared to those in the serum HBV DNA and HBV core-related antigen (HBVcrAg) levels in 24 patients with chronic hepatitis B.
For measurement of HBV RNA, total nucleic acid was extracted from serum samples and treated with RNase-free DNase I. After cDNA synthesis from extracted RNA, HBV RNA was measured by real-time detection polymerase chain reaction.
The peak fraction of HBV RNA in serum samples was consistent with peak fractions of HBV DNA and HBV core protein in a sucrose gradient analysis, indicating that HBV RNA was incorporated into virus particles. All levels of HBV DNA, HBV RNA, and HBVcrAg decreased gradually during lamivudine therapy (P < 0.001 for all). The amount of decrease from the start of lamivudine therapy was significantly higher for HBV DNA than for HBV RNA or HBVcrAg during 6 months of lamivudine therapy (P < 0.001 for all). However, a similar difference was not seen between HBV RNA and HBVcrAg levels during that period. The HBV RNA level was significantly correlated (P < 0.001 for all) with levels of HBV DNA and HBVcrAg both at the beginning and 2 months after the start of lamivudine therapy.
HBV RNA is detectable in serum in a form indicating incorporation into virus particles, and its serum level might serve as a new viral marker with a significance different from that of HBV DNA in lamivudine therapy.
Journal of Gastroenterology 08/2006; 41(8):785-90. · 3.79 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The characteristic differences between patients with and without loss of hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA after achieving hepatitis B e antigen seroconversion were analyzed by comparing changes in HBV DNA and HBV core-related antigen levels during a period from 3 years before to 3 years after the seroconversion. Of the 24 seroconverters, 6 (inactive replication group) showed continuous loss of HBV DNA in serum after the seroconversion and the remaining 18 did not lose HBV DNA (active replication group). The HBV DNA level was similar between the two groups, while the HBV core-related antigen level was significantly lower in the active replication group than in the inactive replication group before the seroconversion. The levels of both HBV DNA and HBV core-related antigen decreased remarkably around the time of seroconversion in the inactive replication group, while these levels did not change or decreased slightly in the active replication group. After the seroconversion, the HBV DNA level was significantly higher in the active replication group than in the inactive replication group, while the HBV core-related antigen level was similarly low between the two groups. Because the serum level of HBV core-related antigen mainly reflects that of HBe antigen, the low level of HBV core-related antigen seen after seroconversion in both groups might have contributed to the occurrence of seroconversion. The precore and core promoter mutations which cause diminished excretion of hepatitis B e antigen were significantly more frequent in the active replication group than in the inactive replication group. It was therefore considered that the seroconversion was caused mainly by a decrease in viral replication in the inactive replication group, and mainly by a decrease in HBe antigen production in the active replication group.
Journal of Medical Virology 02/2006; 78(1):68-73. · 2.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis B virus (HBV) core-related antigen (HBcrAg) and HBV core antigen (HBcAg) assays were developed for the measurement of serum HBV load. The aim of this study was to assess the clinical utility of these assays in Chinese patients with chronic genotype B and C HBV infection.
One hundred and ninety-three chronic hepatitis B patients were enrolled. Serum HBcrAg and HBcAg were measured by chemiluminescence enzyme immunoassay, and HBV-DNA was measured by using a sensitive polymerase chain reaction assay. The data were analyzed in patients with HBV genotype B (HBV/B) and genotype C (HBV/C). The HBcrAg/HBcAg ratio was calculated and compared between patients with and without hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg).
The concentrations of HBcrAg and HBcAg showed significant positive correlation with the HBV-DNA concentration in both HBV/B (r = 0.79, P < 0.001, and r = 0.77, P < 0.001, respectively) and HBV/C (r = 0.87, P < 0.001, and r = 0.90, P < 0.001, respectively). The cut-off for a positive HBcAg corresponded to approximately 4.5 log copies/mL, and that for a positive HBcrAg result corresponded to 3-4 log copies/mL. The HBcrAg/HBcAg ratio was higher in patients with HBeAg than in those without HBeAg.
The HBcrAg assay and HBcAg assay are clinically useful in viral quantitation of HBV/B and HBV/C. A combination of these assays would be a valuable tool for analyzing the clinical status of HBV infection.
Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 12/2005; 20(11):1726-30. · 3.33 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: DNA-negative Dane particles have been observed in hepatitis B virus (HBV)-infected sera. The capsids of the empty particles are thought to be composed of core protein but have not been studied in detail. In the present study, the protein composition of the particles was examined using new enzyme immunoassays for the HBV core antigen (HBcAg) and for the HBV precore/core proteins (core-related antigens, HBcrAg). HBcrAg were abundant in fractions slightly less dense than HBcAg and HBV DNA. Three times more Dane-like particles were observed in the HBcrAg-rich fraction than in the HBV DNA-rich fraction by electron microscopy. Western blots and mass spectrometry identified the HBcrAg as a 22-kDa precore protein (p22cr) containing the uncleaved signal peptide and lacking the arginine-rich domain that is involved in binding the RNA pregenome or the DNA genome. In sera from 30 HBV-infected patients, HBcAg represented only a median 10.5% of the precore/core proteins in enveloped particles. These data suggest that most of the Dane particles lack viral DNA and core capsid but contain p22cr. This study provides a model for the formation of the DNA-negative Dane particles. The precore proteins, which lack the arginine-rich nucleotide-binding domain, form viral RNA/DNA-negative capsid-like particles and are enveloped and released as empty particles.
Journal of Biological Chemistry 07/2005; 280(23):21713-9. · 4.65 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A retrospective survey of Japanese patients histologically diagnosed with chronic hepatitis B was conducted to determine the effectiveness of lamivudine in preventing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Of the 2795 patients who satisfied criteria for analysis after treatment from any of 30 medical institutions, 657 had received lamivudine and the remaining 2138 had not. A Cox regression model with liver biopsy as the starting point revealed seven factors related to HCC: lamivudine therapy, gender, family clustering of hepatitis B, age at liver biopsy, hepatic fibrosis stage, serum albumin level, and platelet count. In a matched case-controlled study, 377 patients in a lamivudine-treated group and 377 matched patients in a non-treated group were selected based on their propensity scores. The mean follow-up period was 2.7 years in the lamivudine group and 5.3 years in the control group. In the lamivudine group, HCC occurred in four patients (1.1%) with an annual incidence rate of 0.4%/(patient/year), whereas in the control group HCC occurred in 50 patients (13.3%) for a rate of 2.5%/(patient/year). A comparison of the cumulative HCC incidence between the two groups by the Kaplan-Meier method showed a significantly lower incidence of HCC in the lamivudine group (p<0.001). These findings suggest that lamivudine effectively reduces the incidence of HCC in patients with chronic hepatitis B.
Hepatology Research 07/2005; 32(3):173-84. · 2.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: One hundred and forty four patients with chronic hepatitis B were tested to identify new mutations associated with hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) negativity, using a full genome sequence analysis. All the patients were Chinese and had hepatitis B virus infection of genotype C. Patients with none of the pre-core or core promoter mutations were significantly (P < 0.001) less common in the group with anti-HBe (13%) than in the group with HBeAg (56%). The complete nucleotide sequence was determined in four anti-HBe-positive patients who had neither pre-core nor core promoter mutations and in five HBeAg-positive patients who also had neither of these mutations (the groups were matched for age and sex). Six mutations were found to be significantly more common in the former group than in the latter: G529A (3/4 vs. 0/5), C934A (4/4 vs. 1/5), A1053G (4/4 vs. 1/5), G1915T/A (4/4 vs. 0/5), T2005C/A (4/4 vs. 0/5), and C3026T (3/4 vs. 0/5). Three of the six mutations were significantly more common in the four anti-HBe-positive patients who had neither pre-core nor core promoter mutations, compared to 11 HBeAg-positive patients who had pre-core and core promoter mutations, and also compared to 15 anti-HBe-positive patients who had pre-core and core promoter mutations, suggesting further the specificity of these mutations. Of the six mutations, two resulted in amino acid substitution in the polymerase protein, and one is located near the enhancer I region. The results suggest that the six newly discovered mutations are associated with HBeAg negativity.
Journal of Medical Virology 06/2005; 76(2):170-5. · 2.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The association between cryoglobulinemia and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been reported. However, the factors underlying its wide variation of occurrence have not yet been well identified. To investigate this, cryoglobulinemia was studied in four cohorts of Egyptian and Japanese patients. Fifty Egyptian patients with chronic hepatitis C, infected with genotype 4 (the predominant HCV genotype in Egypt), were compared with 50 age- and sex-matched Japanese patients, infected with HCV genotype 1b (the predominant HCV genotype in Japan). Thirty-two Egyptian and 30 age- and sex-matched Japanese patients with chronic hepatitis B were included as controls. All patients were noncirrhotic. Antinuclear antibody (ANA), immunoglobulins (Ig), and cryoglubulins were assessed. Results showed a significantly higher prevalence of cryoglobulinemia in chronic hepatitis C Japanese genotype 1b (40%) as compared with Egyptian genotype 4 (14%), P = 0.003, while no difference was found between Japanese (17%) and Egyptian chronic hepatitis B controls (13%). Symptomatic cryoglobulinemia was more prevalent in the Japanese than in the Egyptian chronic hepatitis C group (10% vs. 4%), but the difference was not statistically significant. Univariate analysis showed no association between cryoglobulinemia and either age, sex, alanine aminotransferase level, or HCV viral load in Japanese or Egyptian patients, while the mean IgM level was significantly higher in the cryoglobulin-positive than in the cryoglobulin-negative chronic hepatitis C patients in each group (P = 0.003 and 0.017, respectively). Cryoglobulinemia was found to be significantly associated with both high IgG level (P = 0.020), and positive ANA (P < 0.001) in Japanese patients with chronic hepatitis C, genotype 1b but not in Egyptians with genotype 4. Multivariate analysis showed that the only factors predisposing to cryoglobulinemia were Japanese ethnicity with HCV genotype1b (P = 0.002, OR = 2.56), high IgM level of >245 mg/dl (P = 0.018, OR = 2.05) and female gender (P = 0.040, OR = 1/0.66). In conclusion, cryoglobulinemia is prevalent in Japanese patients with chronic hepatitis C infected with genotype 1b, but cryoglobulinemia is not common in Egyptians with HCV genotype 4. Although it was not possible to evaluate ethnicity and HCV genotype separately in this study, HCV genotype 1b appears to predispose more to cryoglobulinemia than does genotype 4. Female gender and high serum IgM level were also related.
Journal of Medical Virology 08/2003; 70(4):594-9. · 2.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Factors influencing and predictive of seroconversion from hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) to antibody (anti-HBe) were sought in a case-control study of 61 patients with chronic hepatitis B who had been observed from 5 years before to 1 year after seroconversion, and 32 patients who did not seroconvert during the entire 6-year period. Almost all of the patients (96%) were infected with HBV genotype C. HBV DNA levels began to decrease 3 years before seroconversion in the seroconverters, while they remained high in the non-converters. The frequency of precore mutation and the loss of HBeAg (A1896) started to increase 1 year before in the converters, and became significantly higher at seroconversion (23 vs. 3%, P = 0.030) than that in the non-converters. Double mutation in the core promoter (T1762/A1764) was more common in the seroconverters than in the non-converters 5 years before seroconversion (48 vs. 28%), and became significantly more frequent at seroconversion (65 vs. 41%, P = 0.046). Seroconversion occurred in 75% of the patients with at least HBV DNA levels <5.5 logarithmic equivalents/mL; precore mutation in 20% or more of HBV DNA; or core promoter mutation. Seroconversion occurred in 50% of those patients within 1 year, 88% within 2 years, and 93% within 5 years. These results indicate that a decrease in HBV DNA levels and mutations in the precore region and the core promoter were associated significantly and complementarily with seroconversion, and each of them or a combination thereof was predictive of seroconversion years ahead.
Journal of Medical Virology 08/2003; 70(4):545-52. · 2.37 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We aimed to assess the clinical performance of a newly developed chemiluminescence enzyme immunoassay (CLEIA) for the detection of hepatitis B virus (HBV) core-related antigen (HBcrAg) in patients with chronic HBV infection. A total of 82 patients with chronic HBV infection and 167 HBV-negative controls were studied. HBcrAg was measured by CLEIA with monoclonal antibodies to hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) and hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg), and HBV DNA was measured by transcription-mediated amplification assay (TMA) and in-house real-time detection polymerase chain reaction (RTD-PCR). The HBcrAg assay detected viremia in 189 of 216 samples (88%) collected from 72 patients whilst the TMA assay detected viremia in 178 of the 216 samples (82%) (P = 0.019). The HBcrAg concentration correlated linearly with the HBV DNA concentration (P < 0.001) over a range which varied 100 000-fold. The accuracy in the measurement of the patients' HBV load obtained using the HBcrAg assay was not affected by the absence of hepatitis B e antigen from the serum or the presence of precore mutations in the HBV genome. In patients without anti-viral drugs, changes in their serum HBcrAg concentration over time corresponded to their HBV DNA concentration. In six additional patients who were later treated with lamivudine, HBV DNA concentration declined more rapidly than their HBcrAg concentration. Three months after treatment commenced, the ratio of HBcrAg: HBV DNA had increased in all six patients (P = 0.031). The HBcrAg assay is a sensitive and useful test for the assessment of a patient's HBV load. When monitoring the anti-viral effect of lamivudine, HBcrAg provides a viral marker which is independent of HBV DNA.
Journal of Viral Hepatitis 07/2003; 10(4):324-30. · 3.08 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A new enzyme immunoassay specific for hepatitis B virus (HBV) core antigen (HBcAg) was developed. In order to detect HBcAg, specimens were pretreated with detergents to release HBcAg from the HBV virion and disassemble it to dimers, and simultaneously, the treatment inactivated anti-HBc antibodies. HBcAg detected by the assay peaked with HBV DNA in density gradient fractions of HBV-positive sera. The assay showed a wide detection range from 2 to 100,000 pg/ml. We observed no interference from anti-HBc antibody or blood components, but the assay was inhibited by very high concentrations (>1 microg/ml; corresponding to 80 signal/cutoff) of HBeAg. When the cutoff value was tentatively set at 4 pg/ml, all healthy control (HBsAg and HBV DNA negative, n = 160) and anti-hepatitis C virus-positive (n = 55) sera were identified as negative. HBcAg concentrations correlated very closely with HBV DNA (r = 0.946, n = 145) in 216 samples from 72 hepatitis B patients. In seroconversion panels, HBcAg concentrations changed in parallel with HBV DNA levels. The assay, therefore, offers a simple method for monitoring hepatitis B patients. With a series of sera during lamivudine therapy, HBV DNA levels fell sharply and the HBcAg concentration also decreased, but the change in HBcAg was smaller and more gradual. The supposed mechanism of these changes and their clinical significance are discussed.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology 05/2003; 41(5):1901-6. · 4.07 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Hepatitis C virus (HCV) causes various grades of chronic liver disease, ranging from an asymptomatic state to cirrhosis. To assess genetic factors of disease severity, we selected two HCV patient groups according to the following stringent criteria: (i) asymptomatic carrier state (ASC) defined by HCV infection for more than 20 years, normal alanine aminotransferase levels for the past 5 years as well as normal liver histology and/or shape and (ii) liver cirrhosis (LC) as diagnosed by clinical symptoms, liver biopsy and/or ultrasonography. A total of 103 chronically infected Japanese HCV patients (43 ASC and 60 LC) were analyzed. HLA class I and II alleles were established using low resolution DNA typing. HLA-DRB1 and DQB1 genotypes were inferred upon polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis. Two hundred and one anti-HCV-negative ethnically matched controls were included. The frequencies of DRB1*12 (*1201 and *1202), DQB1*0301 and DRB3*03 alleles were higher in patients with ASC than in those with LC (odds ratio (OR) 11.23, OR 4.25, and OR 3.22, respectively). The frequency of DQB1*0503 were lower in ASC patients compared to LC patients (OR 0.05). No significant differences between groups were observed for age, sex, source of infection, HCV genotype or viral loads. Our findings establish that certain HLA class II alleles strongly influence disease progression following HCV infection.
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We report a case of hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) that developed 77 months following sustained and complete response to interferon (IFN) therapy for chronic hepatitis C. A 67-year-old Japanese woman presented with a small mass in the liver that was diagnosed as HCC, 77 months after having completed IFN therapy and having shown a complete response to the therapy with sustained normalization of serum aminotransferases and eradication of serum hepatitis C virus (HCV). Hepatitis C virus RNA was also not detected in the resected tumorous and non-tumorous liver tissues by polymerase chain reaction. This suggests that all patients with chronic HCV infection should be followed closely for as long as possible for the potential development of HCC, even after a complete and sustained response to IFN treatment.
Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology 12/2002; 17(11):1229-35. · 3.33 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: A sensitive enzyme immunoassay (EIA) specific for hepatitis B virus core antigen (HBcAg) and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) was developed. We designated the precore/core gene products as hepatitis B virus (HBV) core-related antigens (HBcrAg). In order to detect HBcrAg even in anti-HBc/e antibody-positive specimens, the specimens were pretreated in detergents. The antibodies are inactivated by this pretreatment and, simultaneously, the antigens are released and the epitopes are exposed. The assay demonstrated 71 to 112% recovery using HBcrAg-positive sera. We observed no interference from the tested anticoagulants or blood components. When the cutoff value was tentatively set at 10(3) U/ml, all healthy control (HBsAg/HBV-DNA negative; n = 108) and anti-HCV antibody-positive (n = 59) sera were identified as negative. The assay showed a detection limit of 4 x 10(2) U/ml using recombinant antigen. Detection limits were compared in four serially diluted HBV high-titer sera. The HBcrAg assay demonstrated higher sensitivity than HBV-DNA transcription-mediated amplification (TMA) or HBeAg radio immunoassay (RIA) in the dilution test. HBcrAg concentrations correlated well with HBV-DNA TMA (r = 0.91, n = 29) and in-house real-time detection-PCR (r = 0.93, n = 47) in hepatitis B patients. On HBeAg/anti-HBe antibody seroconversion panels, the HBcrAg concentration changed in accordance with HBV-DNA levels. HBcrAg concentration provides a reflection of HBV virus load equivalent to HBV-DNA level, and the assay therefore offers a simple method for monitoring hepatitis B patients.
Journal of Clinical Microbiology 03/2002; 40(2):439-45. · 4.07 Impact Factor