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Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (CCLM)

Published in Association with the European Federation of Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine (EFLM)

Editor-in-Chief: Plebani, Mario

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The role of anti-core antibody response in the detection of occult hepatitis B virus infection

Simona Urbani1 / Francesco Fagnoni1 / Gabriele Missale2 / Massimo Franchini1

1Unità Operativa di Immunoematologia e Medicina Trasfusionale, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Parma, Parma, Italy

2Unità Operativa di Malattie Infettive ed Epatologia, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Parma, Parma, Italy

Corresponding author: Dr. Simona Urbani, Unità Operativa di Immunoematologia e Medicina Trasfusionale, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria di Parma, Via Gramsci 14, 43123 Parma, Italy Phone: +39-0521-704816, Fax: +39-0521-703197,

Citation Information: Clinical Chemistry and Laboratory Medicine. Volume 48, Issue 1, Pages 23–29, ISSN (Online) 1437-4331, ISSN (Print) 1434-6621, DOI: 10.1515/CCLM.2010.002, November 2009

Publication History

Received:
2009-07-22
Accepted:
2009-09-01
Published Online:
2009-11-18

Abstract

Occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is characterized by the presence of HBV DNA in serum and/or in the liver of patients negative for hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). Occult infection may impact in several different clinical contexts including the risk of HBV transmission with transfusion or transplantation, and endogenous viral reactivation. The gold standard test for detection of occult infection is the amplification of HBV DNA. However, the serological assay for the long-lasting antibody response to the highly immunogenic HBV core antigen (anti-HBc) represents a qualified candidate as a surrogate for DNA amplification, or for increasing overall sensitivity when assessing the risk of occult hepatitis in peripheral blood. The risk of occult hepatitis associated with anti-HBc seropositivity has been demonstrated extensively, and the presence of antibody response to HBc can be considered a sentinel marker of occult HBV infection.

Clin Chem Lab Med 2010;48:23–9.

Keywords: anti-core antibody response; HBV core (HBc); hepatitis B virus (HBV); occult hepatitis B infection; reactivation; transfusion; transplantation

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