Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) has been observed in all stages of liver disease. Thus far all information about the physical state of HBV in mononuclear blood cells comes from Southern blot analysis and in situ hybridization. In this study we focused our attention on the presence of HBV DNA sequences in PBMCs of 30 patients with acute type B hepatitis and 6 patients with chronic active hepatitis by utilizing both Southern blot analysis and the polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Southern blot analysis showed no HBV DNA sequences in PBMCs of the acute hepatitis patients, although the sensitivity of our method enabled us to detect as little as 1 pg of cloned HBV insert. As far as the chronic hepatitis patients are concerned Southern blot analysis revealed the presence of HBV DNA sequences in 5 out of 6 patients but intermittently at successive follow‐up times. On the other hand we were able to demonstrate the presence of HBV related sequences in 14 out of 30 acute hepatitis patients (5 HBeAg positive, 9 antiHBe positive) and in all 6 chronic hepatitis patients by PCR. Our results indicate that the involvement of PBMCs with HBV during acute HBV infection occurs at a very low level, often below the detection limit of the Southern blot technique.
- Southern blot analysis
- acute and chronic type B hepatitis
- polymerase chain reaction
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Infectious Diseases