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1.  A Model-Based Illustrative Exploratory Approach to Optimize the Dosing of Peg-IFN/RBV in Cirrhotic Hepatitis C Patients Treated With Triple Therapy 
Hézode et al. recently reported the frequent occurrence of anemia and thrombocytopenia in the ANRS-CO20-CUPIC cohort of hepatitis C virus (HCV) cirrhotic experienced patients treated with pegylated-interferon (Peg-IFN), ribavirin (RBV), and telaprevir or boceprevir.1,2 Using frequent measurements of serum drug concentrations, hemoglobin, and platelet concentrations obtained in 15 patients of this cohort, we show how an on-treatment model-based approach could be used to individualize dose regimen and avoid the occurrence of RBV-induced anemia and Peg-IFN-induced thrombocytopenia.
PMCID: PMC4369757
2.  Validation of the INNO-LiPA HBV DR Assay (Version 2) in Monitoring Hepatitis B Virus-Infected Patients Receiving Nucleoside Analog Treatment▿  
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) antiviral drug resistance mutations prevent successful outcome of treatment and lead to worsening of liver disease. Detection of its emergence permits opportune treatment with alternative drugs. Unfortunately, the use of newly approved antivirals, including adefovir dipivoxil, emtricitabine, and telbivudine, is also associated with the development of drug resistance, albeit to a lesser extent than the use of lamivudine. The objectives of this work were to assess the performance characteristics (sensitivity and accuracy) of an updated drug resistance test, the INNO-LiPA HBV DR v2, which includes detection of mutations associated with lamivudine, adefovir, emtricitabine, and telbivudine resistance, and to compare the results with consensus sequencing of serum samples from patients treated with HBV antivirals. Diagnostic sensitivity, defined as detection of a positive amplification line on the line probe assay (LiPA) strip, was 94.8% (95% confidence interval [CI], 89.7 to 97.9) after initial testing, increasing to 96.3% (95% CI, 91.6 to 98.8) after repeat test 1 and to 100% (95% CI, 97.3 to 100.0) after repeat test 2. In diagnostic accuracy determinations, full concordance was observed between sequencing and LiPA for 77.0% of the codons tested (620/805 codons [95% CI, 74.0 to 79.9]), whereas LiPA and sequencing were partially concordant 22% of the time (177/805 codons). In 167 out of 177 cases, LiPA detected a wild-type/mutant mixture whereas sequencing detected only one of the two results. Performance testing of the new LiPA test, the INNO-LiPA HBV DR v2, showed convincing diagnostic sensitivity and accuracy. The ability of the test to detect mixed infections and minority viral populations associated with resistance to the current generation of antivirals, including adefovir, emtricitabine, and telbivudine, makes it a useful tool for HBV therapy monitoring.
PMCID: PMC2826013  PMID: 20065049
3.  In Vitro Activity of 2,4-Diamino-6-[2-(Phosphonomethoxy)Ethoxy]-Pyrimidine against Multidrug-Resistant Hepatitis B Virus Mutants▿  
The susceptibilities of drug-resistant hepatitis B virus (HBV) mutants to lamivudine, adefovir, tenofovir, entecavir, and 2,4-diamino-6-[2-(phosphonomethoxy)ethoxy]-pyrimidine (PMEO-DAPym), a novel acyclic pyrimidine analogue, were assessed in vitro. Most drug-resistant mutants, including multidrug-resistant strains, remained sensitive to tenofovir and PMEO-DAPym. Therefore, the latter molecule deserves further evaluation for the treatment of HBV infection.
PMCID: PMC1891401  PMID: 17371827
4.  European Multicenter Evaluation of High-Density DNA Probe Arrays for Detection of Hepatitis B Virus Resistance Mutations and Identification of Genotypes 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  2006;44(8):2792-2800.
Polymorphisms along the hepatitis B virus (HBV) genome have an impact on disease outcome, sensitivity to antiviral treatment, escape from vaccination, and laboratory diagnosis. We have designed a diagnostic tool based on duplex amplification of the whole HBV genome and a high-density DNA chip designed to detect 245 mutations, 20 deletions, and 2 insertions at 151 positions and to determine the genotype of the virus in serum. Assay performances were evaluated with 170 samples, characterized by determination of viral load and sequencing of the Pol, S, and precore genes and the basal core promoter. One hundred fifty-three samples (90%) could be amplified and analyzed by the chip. Only two samples with more than 103 genome copies/ml could not be analyzed. Genotype had no impact on analytical sensitivity. Reproducibility studies showed no difference between repeats for codon and genotype determination. Genotype determination by sequencing and the chip were concordant in 148 of 151 samples. Twelve thousand one hundred sixty-one codons were analyzed by both techniques. Only 89.4% could be determined by sequencing, and among the remaining 11,335 codons, 92.8% were identical by sequencing and the chip. Failures to identify an amino acid by the chip were mainly due to reduced hybridization efficiency attributed to unexpected polymorphisms. Optimization of the chip-based reagent for the analysis of the HBV genome is ongoing. This first evaluation showed that DNA chip technology can provide important information in relation to the clinical management of chronic hepatitis B.
PMCID: PMC1594645  PMID: 16891494
5.  In Vitro Characterization of the Anti-Hepatitis B Virus Activity and Cross-Resistance Profile of 2′,3′-Dideoxy-3′-Fluoroguanosine 
The fluorinated guanosine analog 2′,3′-dideoxy-3′-fluoroguanosine (FLG) was shown to inhibit wild-type (wt) hepatitis B virus (HBV) replication in a human hepatoma cell line permanently expressing HBV. Experiments performed in the duck model of HBV infection also showed its in vivo antiviral activity. In this study, we investigated the mechanism of inhibition of FLG on HBV replication and its profile of antiviral activity against different HBV or duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV) drug-resistant mutants. We found that FLG-triphosphate inhibits weakly the priming of the reverse transcription compared to adefovir-diphosphate in a cell-free system assay allowing the expression of an enzymatically active DHBV reverse transcriptase. It inhibits more potently wt DHBV minus-strand DNA synthesis compared to lamivudine-triphosphate and shows a similar activity compared to adefovir-diphosphate. FLG-triphosphate was most likely a competitive inhibitor of dGTP incorporation and a DNA chain terminator. In Huh7 cells transiently transfected with different HBV constructs, FLG inhibited similarly the replication of wt, lamivudine-resistant, adefovir-resistant, and lamivudine-plus-adefovir-resistant HBV mutants. These results were consistent with those obtained in the DHBV polymerase assay using the same drug-resistant polymerase mutants. In conclusion, our data provide new insights in the mechanism of action of FLG-triphosphate on HBV replication and demonstrate its inhibitory activity on drug-resistant mutant reverse transcriptases in vitro. Furthermore, our results provide the rationale for further clinical evaluation of FLG in the treatment of drug-resistant virus infection and in the setting of combination therapy to prevent or delay drug resistance.
PMCID: PMC1426422  PMID: 16495257
6.  Long term histological improvement and clearance of intrahepatic hepatitis C virus RNA following sustained response to interferon-ribavirin combination therapy in liver transplanted patients with hepatitis C virus recurrence 
Gut  2003;52(2):283-287.
Background and objective: A proportion of liver transplanted patients with recurrent chronic hepatitis have a sustained virological response to combination therapy with interferon plus ribavirin. However, the long term benefit of antiviral therapy with regard to hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA clearance remains unknown in patients with HCV recurrence. This study examined the long term biochemical, virological, and histological outcome in transplanted patients with recurrent chronic hepatitis who had a sustained virological response to antiviral therapy.
Patients and methods: Fifty four patients with recurrent hepatitis C were treated with antiviral therapy involving induction by combination therapy (interferon (IFN) plus ribavirin) for six months and maintenance ribavirin therapy for 12 months. Fourteen patients who had recurrent chronic hepatitis and sustained virological response to antiviral therapy were followed for three years after the end of antiviral therapy. Serum alanine aminotransferases were assessed every three months during the observation period. Serum hepatitis C RNA detected by polymerase chain reaction was evaluated every six months during follow up, and protocol biopsy procedures were performed routinely every year. Semiquantitative histopathological assessment of allograft hepatitis was performed using the Knodell score and HCV was also detected by polymerase chain reaction on frozen graft tissue samples.
Results: At the end of antiviral therapy, the sustained response rate was 26%. A complete response (normal serum alanine aminotransferase level and undetectable serum HCV RNA) was achieved in 13/14 (93%) patients three years after the end of treatment. A comparison of liver histology findings before and after a mean of three years after antiviral therapy showed a clear improvement in 12/14 (86%) patients. In 5/14 (36%) patients, the last biopsy showed normal or near normal histological findings. After three years of follow up, the total Knodell score was 3.2 (range 1–8) versus 8.3 (range 5–12) before treatment (p=0.001). Graft HCV RNA was detectable before treatment in all 14 patients and was undetectable at the end of follow up in 13/14 (93%) patients tested.
Conclusion: In patients with biochemical and virological responses induced by ribavirin and interferon, a complete response was sustained in 93% for at least three years after cessation of therapy. This long term response was associated with absence of detectable intrahepatic hepatitis C RNA and marked histological improvement.
PMCID: PMC1774965  PMID: 12524414
7.  Effect of a Combination of Clevudine and Emtricitabine with Adenovirus-Mediated Delivery of Gamma Interferon in the Woodchuck Model of Hepatitis B Virus Infection 
Our aim was to evaluate the antiviral effect of a combination of two nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitors, emtricitabine (FTC) and clevudine (L-FMAU), with the addition of an adenovirus-driven delivery of recombinant gamma interferon (IFN-γ) in the woodchuck model of hepatitis B virus infection. Six woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV)-infected woodchucks received L-FMAU (10 mg/kg) plus FTC (30 mg/kg) intraperitoneally for 8 weeks; six other animals received in addition an intravenous injection of a recombinant adenovirus vector expressing woodchuck IFN-γ (Ad-IFN) at weeks 4 and 8. In the control group, two animals received Ad-IFN alone, two received adenovirus vector expressing the green fluorescent protein reporter gene, and one remained untreated. In less than 2 weeks, all woodchucks that received L-FMAU plus FTC showed a rapid and marked inhibition of viral replication, with a 4-log10 drop in serum WHV DNA. In two animals, viremia remained suppressed for several months after the end of treatment. Similarly, a dramatic decrease in intrahepatic replicative intermediates of viral DNA was observed in the L-FMAU/FTC-treated groups. The additional administration of Ad-IFN led to increased inflammation in the liver but did not enhance the antiviral effect of the L-FMAU/FTC combination. In conclusion, therapies combining L-FMAU and FTC in WHV-infected woodchucks resulted in a potent and sustained antihepadnaviral effect both in the liver and in the blood circulation. However, no extra benefit of adding IFN-γ gene transduction to the L-FMAU/FTC combination could be detected.
PMCID: PMC434178  PMID: 15215126
8.  Antiviral Activity of β-l-2′,3′-Dideoxy-2′,3′-Didehydro-5-Fluorocytidine in Woodchucks Chronically Infected with Woodchuck Hepatitis Virus 
The l-nucleoside analog β-l-2′,3′-dideoxy-2′,3′-didehydro-5-fluorocytidine (β-l-Fd4C) was first shown to exhibit potent activity against hepatitis B virus (HBV) in tissue culture and then to significantly inhibit viral spread during acute infection in the duck HBV model (F. Le Guerhier et al., Antimicrob. Agents Chemother. 44:111–122, 2000). We have therefore examined its antiviral activity in a mammalian model of chronic HBV infection, the woodchuck chronically infected with woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV). Side-by-side comparison of β-l-Fd4C and lamivudine administered intraperitoneally during short-term and long-term protocols demonstrated a more profound inhibition of viremia in β-l-Fd4C-treated groups. Moreover, β-l-Fd4C induced a marked inhibition of intrahepatic viral DNA synthesis compared with that induced by lamivudine. Nevertheless, covalently closed circular (CCC) DNA persistence explained the lack of clearance of infected hepatocytes expressing viral antigens and the relapse of WHV replication after drug withdrawal. Liver histology showed a decrease in the inflammatory activity of chronic hepatitis in woodchucks receiving β-l-Fd4C. An electron microscopy study showed the absence of ultrastructural changes of hepatic mitochondria, biliary canaliculi, and bile ducts. However, a loss of weight was observed in all animals, whatever the treatment, as was a transient skin pigmentation in all woodchucks during β-l-Fd4C treatment. There was no evidence that lamivudine or β-l-Fd4C could prevent the development of hepatocellular carcinoma with the protocols used. These results indicate that β-l-Fd4C exhibits a more potent antiviral effect than lamivudine in the WHV model but was not able to eradicate CCC DNA and infected cells from the liver at the dosage and with the protocol used.
PMCID: PMC90426  PMID: 11257017
9.  Selective inhibition of the duck hepatitis B virus by a new class of tetraazamacrocycles. 
Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy  1997;41(11):2579-2581.
The antiviral activity of a new class of N,N,N',N",NA'''-pentakis (omega-aminoalkyl) tetraazamacrocycles was evaluated in primary duck hepatocyte cultures infected with the duck hepatitis B virus (DHBV). Three of the four tested compounds were able to selectively inhibit DHBV replication by acting at an early step of the hepadnavirus infection but were associated with significant toxicity.
PMCID: PMC164169  PMID: 9371374
10.  2',3'-dideoxy-beta-L-5-fluorocytidine inhibits duck hepatitis B virus reverse transcription and suppresses viral DNA synthesis in hepatocytes, both in vitro and in vivo. 
beta-L-Nucleoside analogs represent a new class of potent antiviral agents with low cytotoxicity which provide new hope in the therapy of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections. We evaluated the anti-HBV activity of 2',3'-dideoxy-beta-L-5-fluorocytidine (beta-L-F-ddC), a beta-L-nucleoside analog derived from 2',3'-dideoxycytidine (ddC), in the duck HBV (DHBV) model. This compound was previously shown to inhibit HBV DNA synthesis in a stably transfected hepatoma cell line (F2215). Using a cell-free system for the expression of an enzymatically active DHBV polymerase, we could demonstrate that the triphosphate form of beta-L-F-ddC does inhibit hepadnavirus reverse transcription. In primary duck hepatocyte culture, beta-L-F-ddC showed a potent inhibitory effect on DHBV DNA synthesis which was concentration dependent. Although beta-L-F-ddC was shown to be less active than ddC against the DHBV reverse transcriptase in vitro, beta-L-F-ddC was a stronger inhibitor in hepatocytes. The oral administration of beta-L-F-ddC in experimentally infected ducklings showed that beta-L-F-ddC is a potent inhibitor of viral replication in vivo. Short-term therapy could not prevent a rebound of viral replication after the drug was withdrawn. Preventive therapy with beta-L-F-ddC could delay the onset of viremia by only 1 day compared with the time to the onset of viremia in the control group. The in vivo inhibitory effect of beta-L-F-ddC was much stronger than that of ddC and was not associated with signs of toxicity. Our data show that beta-L-F-ddC inhibits hepadnavirus reverse transcription and is a strong inhibitor of viral replication both in vitro and in vivo.
PMCID: PMC163132  PMID: 8834896
11.  Role of RNA in enzymatic activity of the reverse transcriptase of hepatitis B viruses. 
Journal of Virology  1994;68(12):8437-8442.
The hepadnavirus reverse transcriptase is a multifunction enzyme. In addition to its role in DNA synthesis, the polymerase is required for RNA packaging and also functions as the primer for minus-strand DNA synthesis. Previously, we demonstrated that the protein-priming activity of the polymerase requires a viral RNA segment, termed epsilon, which serves as a template for the synthesis of a short DNA oligomer that is covalently attached to the reverse transcriptase (G.-H. Wang and C. Seeger, J. Virol. 67:6507-6512, 1993). We now report that epsilon is sufficient for activation of the reverse transcriptase to prime DNA synthesis through the formation of a stable RNA-protein (RNP) complex. We also demonstrate that the binding reaction depends on sequence-specific determinants on epsilon. Moreover, our results indicate that two genetically separated domains of the reverse transcriptase are required for formation of the RNP complex. Finally, we show that the polymerase has a DNA polymerase activity in the absence of epsilon which does not depend on the protein-priming mechanism.
PMCID: PMC237319  PMID: 7525990
12.  Woodchuck hepatitis virus X protein is required for viral infection in vivo. 
Journal of Virology  1994;68(3):2026-2030.
The X gene of the mammalian hepadnaviruses is believed to encode a protein of 17 kDa which has been shown to transactivate a wide range of viral and cellular promoters. The necessity for X gene expression during the viral life cycle in vivo has recently been suggested (H.-S. Chen, S. Kaneko, R. Girones, R. W. Anderson, W. E. Hornbuckle, B. C. Tennant, P. J. Cote, J. L. Gerin, R. H. Purcell, and R. H. Miller, J. Virol. 67:1218-1226, 1993). We have independently constructed two variants of woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV) with mutations in the X coding region. Transient transfection of two different hepatoma cell lines showed that these WHV X gene mutants were competent for virus replication in vitro. To determine whether X expression was required for viral replication in vivo, we injected mutant and wild-type genomes into the livers of susceptible woodchucks. While the wild-type WHV genomes were infectious in all animals examined, the mutant genomes did not initiate a WHV infection in woodchucks. These results indicate that the X gene of the hepadnaviruses plays a major role in viral replication in vivo.
PMCID: PMC236671  PMID: 8107266
13.  Reverse transcription in hepatitis B viruses is primed by a tyrosine residue of the polymerase. 
Journal of Virology  1994;68(1):6-13.
All known DNA polymerases require primers for the initiation of DNA synthesis. While cellular polymerases and reverse transcriptases use free hydroxyl groups of RNA or DNA, the DNA polymerases of certain animal viruses and bacteriophages depend upon hydroxyl groups of amino acid residues within proteins as primers for DNA synthesis. Recently, the reverse transcriptase of a hepadnavirus has been shown to prime RNA-directed DNA synthesis from an internal site of the polypeptide (G.H. Wang and C. Seeger, Cell 71:663-670, 1992). In this report we demonstrate that a tyrosine residue of the polymerase polypeptide is the site of a phosphodiester linkage with the first nucleotide of minus-strand DNA. This tyrosine residue is located within an amino-terminal domain of the polymerase polypeptide and is indispensable for the priming of reverse transcription. Our results demonstrate that the hepatitis B virus reverse transcriptase can initiate DNA synthesis without the requirement for tRNA as a primer.
PMCID: PMC236258  PMID: 7504742
14.  Diagnostic markers of viral hepatitis B and C. 
Gut  1993;34(2 Suppl):S20-S25.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) serology has become extremely refined. As well as the recognised hepatitis B surface (HBs), hepatitis B core (HBc), and hepatitis B e (HBe) antigen-antibody systems, new markers have been introduced including pre-S1, pre-S2 for the envelope and the functional X protein. New automates have been introduced allowing flexibility in the different tests according to precise needs. The monitoring of pre-S1 antigen provides a relevant correlate of viral replication. The quantitative determination of HBV-DNA, pre-S1 Ag, and IgM anti-HBc seem most useful for the decision to use, and the monitoring of, antiviral treatment. Second generation ELISAs detect antibodies to three sets of hepatitis C virus (HCV) protein including the c22 core, and c33, and c100, which correspond to the non-structural regions (NS3 and NS4, respectively). Second generation ELISAs require confirmation by supplement assays, but their biggest limitation is the delayed appearance of anti-HCV after primary infection. In addition 10% of chronic infections with liver disease still remain seronegative despite circulating HCV RNA in serum or liver, or both. Much progress still has to be made before HCV serology can reach the level of sophistication of HBV.
PMCID: PMC1373999  PMID: 8314489
15.  New assays for quantitative determination of viral markers in management of chronic hepatitis B virus infection. 
Journal of Clinical Microbiology  1992;30(5):1111-1119.
We performed a quantitative study of serum hepatitis B virus (HBV) markers, including new parameters such as pre-S1 antigen (Ag), pre-S2 Ag, and anti-HBx, in 88 chronic hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) carriers. New IMx assays for HBsAg and immunoglobulin M (IgM) anti-HBc detection were also used. The population studied was composed of 65 chronic hepatitis cases (40 positive for hepatitis B antigen [HBeAg] and 25 positive for anti-HBe) and 23 anti-HBe-positive, asymptomatic HBsAg carriers. Serum HBsAg levels detected by IMx were higher in HBeAg-positive than in anti-HBe-positive HBsAg carriers (all patient subgroups included) and correlated with the serum HBV DNA level (P = 0.0001). Both pre-S1 and pre-S2 Ags were detected by enzyme immunoassays in almost all HBsAg carriers. Both pre-S1 and pre-S2 Ag titers correlated positively with the serum HBsAg concentration (P = 0.0001), but only the pre-S1 Ag titer correlated with the level of serum HBV DNA (P = 0.02). The detection of low levels of IgM anti-hepatitis B core (anti-HBc) antibodies by IMx was associated with the presence of liver disease (P = 0.05) but not with the level of viral replication. The prevalence of anti-HBx antibodies detected by the enzyme immunoassay was slightly, although not significantly, higher in patients with high levels of HBV DNA (greater than 100 pg/ml) than in patients without detectable HBV DNA (P = 0.16). In anti-HBe-positive chronic HBsAg carriers, the quantitative detection of serum HBV DNA, pre-S Ag titers, and IgM anti HBc allowed us to predict which patients suffered from chronic liver disease and/or supported viral replication (P < 0.05). In a follow-up study of eight patients undergoing antiviral therapy, the clearance of both pre-S1 Ag and HBV DNA was associated with a subsequent clearance of HBV. Therefore, the quantitative determination of HBV DNA, pre-S Ags, IgM anti-HBc may prove useful for the decision to use and the monitoring of antiviral therapy, especially in anti-HBe-positive HBsAg carriers.
PMCID: PMC265234  PMID: 1583107
16.  Hepatitis B virus genotype and basal core promoter/precore mutations are associated with hepatitis B-related acute-on-chronic liver failure without pre-existing liver cirrhosis 
Ren, X | Xu, Z | Liu, Y | Li, X | Bai, S | Ding, N | Zhong, Y | Wang, L | Mao, P | Zoulim, F | Xu, D
Journal of Viral Hepatitis  2010;17(12):887-895.
The study was undertaken to investigate the features and clinical implications of hepatitis B virus (HBV) genotypes, basal core promoter (BCP) and precore (PC) mutations in hepatitis B-related acute-on-chronic liver failure (HB-ACLF). Samples from 75 patients with HB-ACLF and without pre-existing liver cirrhosis and 328 age-matched patients with chronic hepatitis B (CHB) were analyzed. HBV genotype and BCP/PC mutations were determined by direct sequencing. Mutations at 8 sites of the BCP/PC region were compared between the two groups of patients. A significantly higher ratio of genotype B to C was found in patients with HB-ACLF than in patients with CHB (30.7–69.3%vs16.5–82.6%, P < 0.01). Single mutations including T1753V (C/A/G), A1762T, G1764A, G1896A and G1899A and triple mutations T1753V/A1762T/G1764A and A1762T/G1764A/C1766T (or T1768A) were more frequently detected in patients with HB-ACLF than in patients with CHB. Correspondingly, BCP/PC wild-type sequences were absent in patients with HB-ACLF in contrast to 27.1% in patients with CHB. The BCP/PC mutations were found to be associated with increased HBeAg negativity, higher alanine aminotransferase level and lower viral load. Patients with HB-ACLF infected with the PC mutant virus had a higher mortality. The findings suggest that patients with CHB infected with genotype B with BCP/PC mutations were more likely to develop HB-ACLF than those with genotype C with wild-type BCP/PC regions, and patients with HB-ACLF with the PC mutation had increased risk of a fatal outcome.
PMCID: PMC2998700  PMID: 20070500
acute-on-chronic liver failure; basal core promoter; hepatitis B virus; mutation; precore

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