To determine the specific viral variants associated with acute exacerbation of chronic hepatitis from hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection, we analyzed the complete nucleotide sequences of the HBV genome in serial serum samples from two chronic active hepatitis patients who seroconverted from HBeAg to anti-HBe. HBV DNA was amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and sequenced. A 1896 precore stop codon mutant (G to A at nt 1896) coexisting with the wild sequence was found in both patients prior to seroconversion from HBeAg to anti-HBe. Core promoter mutations at nucleotide positions 1762 (A to T) and 1764 (G to A) were found in both patients throughout the observation period. Mutations were observed in the HBV genome of the two patients at different time points, and there was no correlation between the mutations and liver disease or DNA polymerase levels. The nucleotide divergence rate and the composition of quasispecies in the HBV sequence at the time of acute exacerbation were almost the same as were found at other time points. These results suggest that acute exacerbation does not appear to be caused by a characteristic HBV species. The multiple factors that cause generalized HBV replication activation may contribute to acute exacerbation.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes