Conserved core protein sequences in hepatitis B virus infected patients without anti-HBc

Margherita Melegari, Maria Christina Jung, Ralf Schneider, Teresa Santantonio, Serenella Bagnulo, Nicoletta Luchena, Giuseppe Pastore, Gerd Pape, Pier Paolo Scaglioni, Erica Villa, Hans Will

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The absence of detectable anti-HBc antibodies in some hepatitis B virus (HBV) infected patients may be due to altered core-protein (HBc) sequences. To investigate this possibility we sequenced the pre-C/C-region of HBV isolated from 12 juvenile cancer patients who incurred a nosocomial infection of HBV during chemotherapy but did not develop anti-HBc antibodies or acute cytolytic episodes. The sequences demonstrated the highest sequence homology to the pre-C/C region of a previously cloned HBV genome (subtype ayw) and no deletions or striking mutations were detected. Up to 7 years after infection almost all the survivors developed low titers of anti-HBc antibodies but no clinical signs of hepatic damage. These results suggest that chemotherapy may induce a tolerance status to HBcAg, the most immunogenic HBV protein.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)187-191
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Hepatology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 1991

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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