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Keywords:

  • age;
  • chronic type B hepatitis;
  • hepatitis B e antigen;
  • hepatitis B virus-DNA

ABSTRACT— The interrelationships of age, hepatitis B virus (HBV)-DNA, hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)/antibody (anti-HBe) and hepatic histological changes were examined in a large series of patients with chronic type B hepatitis. A significant inverse relationship between serum levels of HBV-DNA and the age of patients was demonstrated:a high level of HBV-DNA (> 500 pg/ml) was found in 100%, 50%, 34%, 10% and 0% of patients in the second, third, fourth, fifth and sixth decade, respectively (P<0.001), whereas serum HBV-DNA was negative in 0%, 6%, 8%, 40%, and 50% of cases in the respective decades (P<0.001). The correlation of HBV-DNA with age was more pronounced in the HBeAg-negative cases, of whom 81.3% (13/16) of patients below age 40 were positive for HBV-DNA, in contrast to 33.3% (3/9) of those over 40 years (P<0.05). In addition, the mean age increased from 25.3 years for HBeAg-positive patients with chronic persistent hepatitis (CPH) and nonspecific reactive histological changes (NSRH), to 32.7 years for HBeAg-positive and 34.9 years for anti-HBe positive patients with chronic active hepatitis and chronic lobular hepatitis (P<0.001), and 40.9 years for anti-HBe positive CPH and NSRH (P<0.001). These data suggested that age correlated closely with the status of HBV replication and hepatic changes in chronic type B hepatitis.