Aims: This study was conducted to evaluate the relationship between total intrahepatic hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA levels and liver histology in term of the degree of histologic activity index (HAI) which yields necroinflammation (HAI-NI) and fibrosis (HAI-F) of the liver.
Methods: Prospectively, Tru-cut needle biopsy samples were obtained from liver of 42 chronic hepatitis B patients. Serum and liver HBV DNA levels were determined by quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) method. Demographic data of patients together with hepatitis B serology, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels, HAI-NI, and HAI-F scores of the patients were recorded.
Results: Twenty of the patients were hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive, while 22 patients were positive for antibody to HBeAg (anti-HBe). Serum and liver total HBV DNA levels were found to correlate directly with each other in both groups (r=0.669, p=0.001 and r=0.880, p<0.001, respectively) which was more marked in anti-HBe-positive patients. Although serum HBV DNA levels were correlated positively with HAI-NI and HAI-F scores in both HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative patients, total liver HBV DNA levels were correlated with HAI-NI and HAI-F scores only in anti-HBe-positive patients.
Conclusions: We conclude that quantitative measurement of intrahepatic HBV DNA is a valuable marker of the histologic status of the liver in anti-HBe-positive chronic hepatitis B patients, which may give insight for the prognosis and ideal time for the cessation of antiviral treatment.
- chronic hepatitis
- hepatitis B virus
- liver histology
- real-time PCR