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1.  Hepatitis B virus precore mutation and fulminant hepatitis in the United States. A polymerase chain reaction-based assay for the detection of specific mutation. 
Journal of Clinical Investigation  1994;93(2):550-555.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) variants with precore mutation(s) resulting in the absence of HBeAg production have been associated with the occurrence of fulminant hepatitis in Japan, Israel, and southern Europe, where the prevalence of this HBV strain appears common. In areas such as United States, where HBV infection is not endemic, the role of this mutant virus in fulminant hepatitis is unknown. We developed an amplification refractory mutation detection system to detect specifically the presence of the G to A mutation at nucleotide position 1898, which is the most frequently observed mutation resulting in a precore stop codon. In addition, this method provided a quantitative measurement of the relative ratio of one strain to the other. Using this system, we tested HBV strains for the presence of the stop codon mutation in sera from 40 cases of fulminant hepatitis B occurring in the United States. Serum HBV DNAs from 28 patients were analyzed successfully. A mixture of wild-type and mutant strains in various ratios were observed in 15 patients, wild type exclusively in 11, and mutant exclusively in 2. Four of these patients had undergone liver transplantation for HBV-associated cirrhosis and developed fulminant HBV-associated hepatitis after transplantation. Pre- and posttransplant serum samples from one patient were analyzed: a mixture of wild-type and mutant HBV strains was detected in both samples. Our study demonstrated that both wild-type and mutant HBV strains are associated with fulminant hepatitis, and that in some patients in the United States, factors other than precore mutations contribute to the development of fulminant hepatitis.
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PMCID: PMC293877  PMID: 8113393
2.  Delayed development of antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen after symptomatic infection with hepatitis B virus. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1981;14(2):130-134.
During a 2-year period, 38 patients with clinical hepatitis B virus infection were seen at the Public Health Service Alaska Native Hospital in Bethel. This hospital serves an area in southwest Alaska that is hyperendemic for hepatitis B virus. The patients came to the hospital at various times from 15 scattered villages, and 92% were Eskimo. None of the patients had a recent history of hypodermic injection or blood transfusions. Twenty-five patients, all originally positive for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg), were followed for up to 5 years after onset of illness, and 15 were either slow to develop, or never developed, antibody to HBsAg (anti-HBs), although only one patient became a chronic carrier of HBsAg. Six patients had a prolonged "window phase" between the disappearance of HBsAg and the appearance of anti-HBs which lasted for more than 1 year. Three patients had only transient anti-HBs after HBsAg disappeared, and five never developed measurable anti-HBs at all. All patients had antibody to hepatitis B core when both HBsAg and anti-HBs were absent. In contrast to studies in other populations, only 42% had anti-HBs 1 year after onset of illness, 63% had it at 18 months, 70% had it at 2 years, and 80% had it at 5 years. Factors related to ethnicity might account for the differences in the development of anti-HBs after acute symptomatic hepatitis B virus infection seen in Eskimos when compared with whites.
PMCID: PMC271921  PMID: 7276146

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