Don Finegold, MD, Fellow, Department of Gastroenterology, University of California, Sacramento, CA.
Significance of antibody to hepatitis B core antigen in blood donors as determined by their serologic response to hepatitis B vaccine
Article first published online: 28 FEB 2003
Volume 33, Issue 5, pages 362–367, May 1993
How to Cite
Aoki, S.K., Finegold, D., Kuramoto, I.K., Douville, C., Richards, C., Randell, R., Fernando, L., Holland, P.V. and Zeldis, J.B. (1993), Significance of antibody to hepatitis B core antigen in blood donors as determined by their serologic response to hepatitis B vaccine. Transfusion, 33: 362–367. doi: 10.1046/j.1537-2995.1993.33593255593.x
- Issue published online: 28 FEB 2003
- Article first published online: 28 FEB 2003
- Received for publication April 17, 1992; revision received October 14, 1992, and accepted October 20, 1992.
Because large numbers of volunteer blood donors may be disqualified for “false-positive” results on tests for antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti-HBc), a more specific definition of anti-HBc enzyme immunoassay (EIA)-reactive was evaluated, including only those donor samples that were “strongly” reactive (sample-to-cutoff absorbance ratio, < 0.45). Results using this definition and other anti-HBc test methods were compared to the serologic response (antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen [anti-HBsAg]) to hepatitis B vaccination. Fifty-eight volunteer blood donors who had previously been deferred as donors, because of reactive anti-HBc tests (all other blood screening tests were negative, including those for HBsAg and anti-HBsAg) on two occasions, were vaccinated for hepatitis B. It was assumed that an anamnestic response to vaccine indicated past infection with hepatitis B, while a primary response to vaccine indicated lack of past infection. One (2%) of 43 donors with a historically “weak” anti-HBc (reactive absorbance ratio, > or = 0.45) had an anamnestic response to vaccine, compared to 8 (53%) of 15 with historically “strong” anti-HBc (reactive absorbance ratio, < 0.45) (p < 0.005). Anti-HBc testing using the microparticle EIA method also correlated well with hepatitis B vaccination results. The use of a narrower definition of “reactive” for anti-HBc EIA testing yielded much more specific, but slightly less sensitive, results.