Protective hepatitis B surface antibodies in blood and ascites fluid in the early stage after liver transplantation for hepatitis B diseases


Professor Zhong-Yang Shen, Department of Transplant Surgery, First Center Hospital Clinic Institute, Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin 300192, China. Email:


Aim:  The aim of this study is to identify the titres of protective hepatitis B surface antibodies (anti-HBs) in the blood and their effective factors in the early stage after liver transplantation (LT) for hepatitis B virus (HBV) related diseases. The condition of anti-HBs lost in ascites fluid was also investigated.

Methods:  Twenty-six patients who received LT were administered prophylaxis of lamivudine combining intravenous hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) post-LT. The titres of anti-HBs were recorded and analyzed daily in blood and ascites fluid within the first week post-LT.

Results:  In the first 5 days post-LT, the titres of anti-HBs in HBV DNA positive groups, high hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) groups, hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) positive groups were lower than that in the parallel HBV DNA negative groups, low HBsAg groups and HBeAg negative groups. The mean titre level of anti-HBs in ascites fluid is 224.89 IU/L and fluctuated from 0.00 IU/L to 968.50 IU/L, which is also correlated with anti-HBs titres in blood drawn at the same time (r = 0.927, P = 0.000). The level of anit-HBs in ascites fluid was very high; however, it fluctuated in a wide range (from 0.00 IU to 908.55 IU).

Conclusions:  Patients in high risk groups should receive a higher level of HBIG to maintain sufficient amounts of anti-HBs in the early stage post-LT, while the patients in low risk groups need a lower level of HBIG administration. Furthermore, the lost amount of anti-HBs in ascitic fluid post-LT has minimum impact on the anti-HBs titres in blood.