Hepatitis B virus DNA in peripheral-blood mononuclear cells in chronic hepatitis B after HBsAg clearance Academic Article uri icon


  • In this study, peripheral-blood mononuclear cells from patients with chronic hepatitis B and spontaneous or therapy-induced disappearance of HBsAg were examined for HBV DNA. Samples were evaluated by in situ hybridization and polymerase chain reaction both before and after clearance of HBsAg. By in situ hybridization, positive signals were observed in 2 of 13 samples collected after HBsAg loss, in 8 of 15 samples before HBsAg loss and in 0 of 4 control patients without serological markers of active or prior HBV infection. When polymerase chain reaction analyses were performed, HBV DNA was detected in 5 of 12 HBsAg-negative samples and 10 of 15 HBsAg-positive samples from the study group. Testing of mononuclear cells after disappearance of HBsAg revealed that two of eight patients were HBV DNA positive by in situ hybridization and by polymerase chain reaction, whereas two additional patients were positive by polymerase chain reaction alone. Mononuclear cell–associated HBV DNA was detected between 2 and 9 mo after the disappearance of circulating HBsAg by in situ hybridization and as long as 4 yr later by polymerase chain reaction. These data indicate that patients who have undergone HBsAg seroconversion may nonetheless harbor HBV DNA in their peripheral-blood mononuclear cells for prolonged periods. (HEPATOLOGY 1992;16:36–41.)

publication date

  • July 1, 1992