Asymptomatic blood donors with persistent HBs antigenaemia have a variety of histological lesions in the liver, and serial biopsies indicate that, in some, these lesions may progress. The immunoperoxidase technique was found to be a sensitive method for the histological demonstration of HBsAg and HBcAg. Livers showing minor histological changes contained more HBsAg than those with active lesions and there appears to be an inverse relationship between the amount of HBsAg in the liver and the severity of the histological damage. In the carriers who had more than one biopsy, the presence of stainable HBsAg, irrespective of the initial histological diagnosis, was associated with a greater likelihood of progression of the histological lesion. HBcAg was found only in the hepatocyte nuclei of carriers with chronic aggressive and chronic persistent hepatitis.
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