Woodchuck hepatitis and hepatocellular carcinoma: Correlation of histologic with virologic observations

Authors

  • Hans Popper M.D.,

    Corresponding author
    1. The Stratton Laboratory for the Study of Liver Diseases, Mount Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York, New York, New York 10029
    2. The Division of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Rockville, Maryland 20850
    3. Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    4. Infectious Diseases Branch, National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders of Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    5. Meloy Laboratories, Rockville, Maryland 20850
    • The Stratton Laboratory for the Study of Liver Diseases, Mount Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York, New York 10029
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  • James W.-K. Shih,

    1. The Stratton Laboratory for the Study of Liver Diseases, Mount Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York, New York, New York 10029
    2. The Division of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Rockville, Maryland 20850
    3. Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    4. Infectious Diseases Branch, National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders of Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    5. Meloy Laboratories, Rockville, Maryland 20850
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  • John L. Gerin,

    1. The Stratton Laboratory for the Study of Liver Diseases, Mount Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York, New York, New York 10029
    2. The Division of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Rockville, Maryland 20850
    3. Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    4. Infectious Diseases Branch, National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders of Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    5. Meloy Laboratories, Rockville, Maryland 20850
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  • Doris C. Wong,

    1. The Stratton Laboratory for the Study of Liver Diseases, Mount Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York, New York, New York 10029
    2. The Division of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Rockville, Maryland 20850
    3. Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    4. Infectious Diseases Branch, National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders of Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    5. Meloy Laboratories, Rockville, Maryland 20850
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  • Bill H. Hoyer,

    1. The Stratton Laboratory for the Study of Liver Diseases, Mount Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York, New York, New York 10029
    2. The Division of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Rockville, Maryland 20850
    3. Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    4. Infectious Diseases Branch, National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders of Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    5. Meloy Laboratories, Rockville, Maryland 20850
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  • William T. London,

    1. The Stratton Laboratory for the Study of Liver Diseases, Mount Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York, New York, New York 10029
    2. The Division of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Rockville, Maryland 20850
    3. Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    4. Infectious Diseases Branch, National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders of Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    5. Meloy Laboratories, Rockville, Maryland 20850
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  • David L. Sly,

    1. The Stratton Laboratory for the Study of Liver Diseases, Mount Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York, New York, New York 10029
    2. The Division of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Rockville, Maryland 20850
    3. Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    4. Infectious Diseases Branch, National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders of Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    5. Meloy Laboratories, Rockville, Maryland 20850
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  • Robert H. Purcell

    1. The Stratton Laboratory for the Study of Liver Diseases, Mount Sinai School of Medicine of the City University of New York, New York, New York 10029
    2. The Division of Molecular Virology and Immunology, Georgetown University Medical Center, Rockville, Maryland 20850
    3. Laboratory of Infectious Diseases, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    4. Infectious Diseases Branch, National Institute of Neurological and Communicative Disorders of Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20205
    5. Meloy Laboratories, Rockville, Maryland 20850
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Abstract

The livers of 33 captive woodchucks were examined histologically in 30 biopsy and 10 autopsy specimens and the findings were correlated with serum determinations for woodchuck hepatitis virus (WHV), surface antigen (WHsAg) and antibody (anti-WHs), and WHV DNA and DNA polymerase. The liver appeared normal in all 3 serum-negative animals, 7 of 16 with indeterminate WHV status, and 1 of 4 with anti-WHs, but not in 10 animals with WHsAg, WHV DNA, and DNA polymerase. Mild hepatic inflammation was found in 7 woodchucks with indeterminate status, 4 with anti-WHs, and 2 with each marker of WHV infection. Significant inflammation was found in 2 of indeterminate status and 4 with every marker, whereas more severe lesions (2 of chronic active type) occurred, almost always in autopsy specimens, in 8 animals with every marker. Eight of 10 animals with all markers had orcein-positive inclusions (Shikata's technique) and 6 had hepatocellular carcinoma associated with acute and chronic hepatic inflammation and, usually, neoplastic nodules in the noncarcinomatous parenchyma. Features distinguishing the woodchuck lesion from human hepatitis B disease were: association of carcinoma with acute hepatic inflammation (but not with cirrhosis) and DNA polymerase in the serum; transition to carcinoma from neoplastic nodules; conspicuous plasma-cellular reaction of hepatic inflammation, and hematopoietic cells in the tumor. Significant hepatic lesions in the woodchucks were regularly associated with serum WHsAg, WHV DNA, and DNA polymerase. In contrast to man, hepatocellular carcinoma in woodchucks was regularly associated with these markers of active viral replication. The nature of the orcein-positive inclusions requires elucidation, although they may assist in screening for similar viruses in other species. The woodchuck may help in the study of the relation between hepatocellular carcinoma and hepatitis B, including the possibility of cocarcinogenic factors.

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