• anti-HBc positive donor;
  • nucleotide sequence;
  • phylogenetic tree;
  • liver transplantation;
  • HBV infection


De novo infection of hepatitis B virus (HBV) occurs after liver transplantation from donors with HBV markers that suggest past infection. In the present study, the complete nucleotide sequences of HBV derived from a donor and recipients were determined to determine the clinical and virological characteristics. A total of 57 donor-recipient pairs, which underwent living-related orthotopic liver transplantation, were enrolled in the present study; all were negative for HBsAg before transplantation. HBV DNA was tested in serum, liver tissue, and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) by the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The nucleotide sequence of HBV was determined based on PCR products and the phylogenetic analysis. De novo infection of HBV was found in 3 of the 57 recipients. Anti-HBc was positive in all donors of 3 recipients with the de novo infection but was positive only in 4 donors of the remaining 54 recipients (P=0.001). HBV DNA was detected in the liver but not in the serum or PBMCs in donor 3 whose recipient developed de novo HBV infection. The nucleotide sequence covering entire genome of HBV (3,215 bases) derived from the liver of donor 3 had a homology of 99.8–100% with that derived from the serum of corresponding recipient 3. The strain of recipient 3 showed the closest association with that of the donor 3 by phylogenetic analysis. Complete sequences from two recipients with de novo HBV infection including recipient 3 conserved the basic organisation of HBV genome. Analysis of the entire nucleotide sequence of HBV genome proved that HBV existed in the liver of the donor with anti-HBc, and it caused de novo infection in the corresponding recipient. J. Med. Virol. 62:471–478, 2000. © 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.