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Keywords:

  • adenine arabinoside;
  • adenine arabinoside 5'-monophosphate;
  • hepatitis B e antigen;
  • interferon.

Abstract

In the present study, aiming at the evaluation of the effects of antiviral therapy on hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) levels, serum HBeAg concentration was determined serially by a quantitative assay in 44 patients with chronic hepatitis B who received a total of 73 courses of antiviral treatment. The posttreatment HBeAg levels were significantly lower than pretreatment baseline in all treated groups, not only at the end of treatment but also 6 months after the completion of therapy. The proportional decrease in treated patients was significantly greater than in 15 untreated controls. Six months after the completion of treatment, serum HBeAg became negative in seven out of 25 treatments with interferon, seven out of 28 with adenine arabinoside, and five out of 20 with adenine arabinoside 5'-monophosphate. All patients who became negative for HBeAg had normalization of alanine aminotransferase as well. A progressive decrease in HBeAg in patients treated with multiple courses of drug was observed, and the frequency of negative tests increased, paralleling the number of courses of treatment.

These results suggest that antiviral therapy may alleviate inflammatory changes in the liver by promoting clearance of HBeAg from the serum, and may eventually shorten the natural course of hepatitis associated with chronic hepatitis B virus infection.