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(Reference retrieved automatically from SciELO through information on FAPESP grant and its corresponding number as mentioned in the publication by the authors.)

Absence of hepatitis B virus DNA in patients with hepatitis C and non-A-E hepatitis in the State of São Paulo, Brazil

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L.O. Souza ; J.R.R. Pinho ; F.J. Carrilho ; L.C. da Silva
Total Authors: 4
Document type: Journal article
Source: Brazilian Journal of Medical and Biological Research; v. 37, n. 11, p. 1665-1668, Nov. 2004.

Occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection has been reported as cases in which HBV DNA was detected despite the absence of any HBV serological markers or in cases in which anti-HBc antibody was the sole marker. The aim of the present study was to determine, using the polymerase chain reaction (PCR), whether HBV infection occurs in hepatitis C and non-A-E hepatitis patients without serological evidence of hepatitis B infection in São Paulo State. Two different populations were analyzed: 1) non-A-E hepatitis patients, including 12 patients with acute and 50 patients with chronic hepatic disorders without serological evidence of infection with known hepatitis viruses; 2) 43 patients previously diagnosed as hepatitis C with positive results for anti-HCV and HCV RNA. Among hepatitis C patients, anti-HBc was detected in 18.6% of the subjects. Three different sets of primers were employed for HBV DNA detection by nested PCR, covering different HBV genes: C, S and X. HBV-DNA was not detected in any sample, whereas the positive controls did produce signals. The lack of HBV DNA detection with these pairs of primers could be due to a very low viral load or to the presence of mutations in their annealing sites. The latter is unlikely as these primers were screened against an extensive dataset of HBV sequences. The development of more sensitive methods, such as real time PCR, to detect circular covalent closed DNA is necessary in order to evaluate this question since previous studies have shown that cryptic hepatitis B might occur. (AU)