• chronic hepatitis;
  • delta agent;
  • hepatitis B;
  • immuno-light microscopy;
  • ultrastructural features

ABSTRACT— A morphologic study with immunohistochemical detection of the viral antigens of hepatitis B and Delta was performed on 36 liver specimens from patients with delta positive chronic viral hepatitis B. Electron microscopy was performed in 9 cases. No light microscopic or ultrastructural features specific for hepatitis D were observed. Lymphocytic infiltration occurred more often close to hepatocytes containing either hepatitis Delta antigen or hepatitis B core antigen in the cytoplasm, suggesting an involvement of cellular immune mechanisms in chronic hepatitis D as well as in hepatitis B. The simultaneous expression of both HBcAg and Delta antigen in occasional specimens over longer time periods indicates the possible co-existence of both viruses without mutual inhibition.