The molecular basis of hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-negative infections


Dr M. Mayumi Immunology Division, Jichi Medical School, Miramikawachi-Machi, Tochigi-Ken 329-04, Japan


Hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-negative infections are an unusual form of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in which viral replication and liver damage persist despite antibodies against HBeAg. This form of HBV may be associated with fulminant hepatitis. The molecular basis for an HBeAg-minus phenotype has been extensively studied and is most often a result of mutations in the precore region. However, other mutations can give rise to this phenotype and their investigation and characterization may reveal new insights into the pathogenesis of chronic viral hepatitis.