Third component, HBeAg/3, of hepatitis B e antigen system, identified by three different double-diffusion techniques. (1/499)

A third component, HB(e)AG/3, of the hepatitis B e antigen system has been detected, and it was consistently detected in three variations of the double-diffusion technique.  (+info)

Hepatitis virus infection in haemodialysis patients from Moldavia. (2/499)

BACKGROUND: Although the epidemiology of hepatitis B (HBV) and C (HCV) now seems well established for Western European countries, in Central and Eastern Europe < 50% of all dialysis centres routinely test for hepatitis C antibodies since testing is not available or is not applied to all patients. This study describes the prevalence, risk factors and clinical significance of HBV and HCV infection for the haemodialysis population of the North Eastern region of Romania, Moldavia. METHODS: The presence of HBV antigens was determined with an ELISA kit (Wellcome, Abbot) and HCV antibodies with the ELISA-3 Ortho-HCV, third generation test. The following individual data were collected: gender, age, duration of dialysis, rural/urban domicile, actual and previous HBV status, actual HCV status, known acute, clinically evident hepatitis episodes in the last 3 years, monthly alanine aminotransferase (ALAT) and aspartate aminotransferase (ASAT) levels, complete biochemical hepatic assessment at the time of the study, transfusions for the past 3 years and family history. RESULTS: HBV and HCV prevalences were 17% (stable over the last 3 years) and 75%, respectively; co-infection was seen in 10% of the subjects. Hospitalization (nosocomial infection) for HBV, blood transfusions and duration on dialysis for HCV, emerged as the main risk factors for hepatitis infection. Socio-economic conditions appear to be equally important for HCV infection, since the prevalence was significantly higher among patients from rural, underdeveloped areas than urban areas (80.8 vs 60.3%), and infection was already present in a large proportion of patients (47%) before starting dialysis, without being related to previous disease duration or blood transfusions. HBV and/or HCV was not associated with a worse clinical or biochemical profile at the time of the study. However, infected patients had significantly more previous cytolytic episodes, with higher, transient increases in ALAT and ASAT levels. CONCLUSIONS: HCV infection is endemic among dialysis centres in Moldavia. Apart from previously well-known risk factors for hepatitis infection, our study demonstrates the negative impact of socio-economic underdevelopment. Simple measures such as enforced general asepsia rules, careful disinfection and equipment sterilization, routine testing of patients from economically disadvantaged areas and monthly, serial determination of hepatic enzymes should be the common practice in dialysis centres in Romania.  (+info)

Human hepatitis B virus X protein is detectable in nuclei of transfected cells, and is active for transactivation. (3/499)

Subcellular localization and transactivation of human hepatitis B virus X protein (HBx), a plausible causative factor for hepatocellular carcinogenesis, were studied in transiently transfected cells. The transactivation was detected not only by the cis-element driven chloramphenicol acetyltransferase (CAT) assay but also by immunostaining of CAT protein cotransfected into human hepatoma cell line HepG2. Scanning fluorescence microscopy showed the majority of immunological signals of HBx to be at the perinuclear region of transfected cytoplasm. HBx was also clearly detectable in the nucleus, though less intensely expressed. This was confirmed by Western analysis and coimmunoprecipitation of HBx with transcription factor IIB (TFIIB) in subcellular fractionations. The percentage of HBx-positive cells coincided with that of CAT-positive cells, and confocal laser microscopy revealed the coexistence of CAT signals in GFP-HBx positive cells. The SV40 large T antigen nuclear localization signal (NLS) appended HBx, regardless of whether NLS was added to the N- or C-terminus, transactivated all the examined X-responsive elements (XRE) similarly as did wild-type HBx. Similar results were obtained in p53 negative Saos-2 cells. The detected nuclear HBx may be involved in modulating the transcription at the promoter level whereas the HBx in cytoplasm may be working through signal transduction pathways.  (+info)

HBV-specific immune defect in chronic hepatitis B (CHB) is correlated with a dysregulation of pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines. (4/499)

The aim of this study was to examine the immunomodulating effects of rhIL-12 on the immune response induced by hepatitis B virus (HBV) antigens in clinical subgroups of patients with HBV infection. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) of 80 patients were stimulated with HBsAg, HBcAg, pre-S1Ag and tetanus toxoid in the absence or presence of IL-12 (0.01, 0.1 and 1 ng/ml). Stimulation by anti-CD3+ anti-CD28 and lipopolysaccharide (LPS) were used as controls. Proliferation and cytokine production were determined by 3H-thymidine uptake and ELISA after 72 h. After stimulation with HBV antigens only, production of tumour necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) or IL-10 was observed in all patients, while interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) was detectable in only 27 patients. After costimulation with IL-12 and HBV antigens, however, large amounts of IFN-gamma were found in all patients, while HBV-induced IL-10 production remained mostly unchanged. When clinical subgroups including patients with compensated liver cirrhosis were compared, PBMC from patients with HBeAg+ hepatitis showed the lowest capacity to produce IFN-gamma after HBV antigen-positive IL-12. These data suggest that the ability of IL-12 to enhance IFN-gamma production against HBV antigens is correlated with the presence of HBeAg and is not impaired in patients with advanced liver disease. In addition, IL-12 and IL-10 production by antigen-presenting cells may be a critical factor that determines the efficacy of the immune response against the hepatitis B virus.  (+info)

The hepatitis B pX protein promotes dimerization and DNA binding of cellular basic region/leucine zipper proteins by targeting the conserved basic region. (5/499)

The hepatitis B virus pX protein is a potent transcriptional activator of viral and cellular genes whose mechanism of action is poorly understood. Here we show that pX dramatically stimulates in vitro DNA binding of a variety of cellular proteins that contain basic region/leucine zipper (bZIP) DNA binding domains. The basis for increased DNA binding is a direct interaction between pX and the conserved bZIP basic region, which promotes bZIP dimerization and the increased concentration of the bZIP homodimer then drives the DNA binding reaction. Unexpectedly, we found that the DNA binding specificity of various pX-bZIP complexes differs from one another and from that of the bZIP itself. Thus, through recognition of the conserved basic region, pX promotes dimerization, increases DNA binding, and alters DNA recognition. These properties of pX are remarkably similar to those of the human T-cell lymphotrophic virus type I Tax protein. Although Tax and pX are not homologous, we show that the regions of the two proteins that stimulate bZIP binding contain apparent metal binding sites. Finally, consistent with this in vitro activity, we provide evidence that both Tax and pX activate transcription in vivo, at least in part, by facilitating occupancy of bZIPs on target promoters.  (+info)

HBV and proteinuria in relatives and contacts of children with hepatitis B virus-associated membranous nephropathy. (6/499)

BACKGROUND: Hepatitis B virus (HBV)-associated membranous nephropathy (HBVMN) is an important cause of childhood nephrotic syndrome in regions endemic for the virus, but little is understood of the biosocial context in which the disease develops. We evaluated HBV status and proteinuria in family members and household contacts of index children with HBVMN to test the hypothesis that HBV carriage and asymptomatic proteinuria are closely linked and may be causally associated. METHODS: Thirty-one black children with biopsy-proven HBVMN were the index cases. One hundred and fifty-two family members and 43 black household contacts were the subjects of the study. We assessed HBV carrier status by testing for HBV antigens and antibodies using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISA) and for HBV DNA by using slot-blot hybridization and the polymerase chain reaction. Sequencing of the precore region of HBV was done in a subset of both index cases and subjects. Proteinuria was assessed by measuring the urinary protein/creatinine ratio. RESULTS: Seventy-two (37%) of the 195 family members and household contacts were HBV carriers, and 53 (27%) had a protein/creatinine ratio greater than the physiological limit. The frequency of abnormal proteinuria was not significantly different in those with [22 out of 72 (30.5%)] or without [33 out of 104 (32%)] HBV carriage. This lack of association remained when carriers were classified into those who were HBsAg positive only and those with active viral replication (HBsAg and/or HBeAg and/or HBV DNA; P = 0.01). Family members were more predisposed to HBV carriage than household contacts, but abnormal proteinuria was present with equal frequency (P = 0.48). Age had a significant impact on proteinuria, with children less than five years being more likely to have abnormal proteinuria (P = 0.008). The prevalence of abnormal proteinuria in family members and household contacts of the index cases was more than that in community-based controls. The 10 index HBVMN cases and the 14 family members and household contacts who were tested all had HBV of genotype A. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that the family members and household contacts of children with HBVMN are at very high risk of HBV carriage; they also have asymptomatic proteinuria at a significantly higher rate than community-based controls. The HBV carrier status was not associated with proteinuria, a finding supported by peak prevalences of proteinuria in those under five years but no corresponding peak for HBV carriage. Proteinuria may indicate glomerular basement membrane dysfunction. Environmental and social factors may underpin development of these two covert disorders, but are insufficient to account for the index cases of HBVMN. The emergence of children with HBVMN from such households additionally depends on unidentified and possibly genetic factors.  (+info)

The proapoptotic effect of hepatitis B virus HBx protein correlates with its transactivation activity in stably transfected cell lines. (7/499)

The role of hepatitis B virus HBx protein in the carcinogenesis associated with chronic viral infection remains ill-defined. Indeed, pleiotropic effects have been ascribed to HBx: in addition to its well-documented ability to indirectly stimulate transcription, the protein has been reported to affect cell growth, signal transduction, DNA repair and apoptosis. In this work, we generated Chang (CCL-13)-derived cell lines constitutively expressing wild type or mutant HBx, as a model of HBx-host cell interaction closer to the chronic infection setting, than the classically used transient expression systems. We document the potentiation by HBx of the apoptotic cell death pathway in the recipient cells. This effect is unlikely to rely on p53 activity since the protein is functionally inactivated in CCL-13. In addition, antioxidants and cyclosporin A failed to reduce the apoptotic response back to the normal level, suggesting that production of reactive oxygen species and calcineurin activation are not directly involved in the proapoptotic effect of HBx. In contrast, our data show that transactivation and stimulation of apoptosis are tightly linked HBx activities. Finally, expression of transactivation-active protein did not result in detectable change in the pattern of MAP kinases phosphorylation nor did it affect the ability of the host cell to repair in vitro irradiated plasmid DNA.  (+info)

Genetic alterations in hepatocellular carcinomas: association between loss of chromosome 4q and p53 gene mutations. (8/499)

The major risk factors for hepatocellular carcinomas (HCC) in high incidence areas include infection with hepatitis B and C viruses (HBV, HCV) and exposure to aflatoxin. Genetic alterations in 24 liver resection specimens from Shanghai and Qidong were studied. Hepatitis B virus was integrated in all patient samples, and a null phenotype for the GSTM1 enzyme was present in 63% of patients. Alteration of p53 was present in 95% (23/24) of cases: mutations of the p53 gene in 12 HCC, p53 overexpression in 13 and loss of heterozygosity (LOH) of chromosome 17p in 17. All seven HCCs with a p53 mutation from Qidong and three of five from Shanghai had the aflatoxin-associated point mutation with a G to T transversion at codon 249, position 3. No HCC had microsatellite instability. LOH of chromosome 4q, 1p, 16q and 13q was present in 50%, 46%, 42% and 38%, respectively, and 4q was preferentially lost in HCCs containing a p53 mutation: LOH of 4q was present in 75% (9/12) of HCC with, but only 25% (3/12) of HCC without, a p53 gene mutation (P = 0.01). These data indicate a possible interaction between p53 gene mutation and 4q loss in the pathogenesis of HCC.  (+info)