Cumulative viral evolutionary changes in chronic hepatitis B virus infection precedes hepatitis B e antigen seroconversion

Yan Cheng, Stephane Guindon, Allen Rodrigo, Lin Ying Wee, Masafumi Inoue, Alexander J Thompson, Stephen Locarnini, Seng Gee Lim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective To examine viral evolutionary changes and their relationship to hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) seroconversion. Design A matched case-control study of HBeAg seroconverters (n=8) and non-seroconverters (n=7) with adequate stored sera before seroconversion was performed. Nested PCR, cloning and sequencing of hepatitis B virus (HBV) precore/core gene was performed. Sequences were aligned using Clustal X2.0, followed by construction of phylogenetic trees using Pebble 1.0. Viral diversity, evolutionary rates and positive selection were then analysed. Results Baseline HBV quasispecies viral diversity was identical in seroconverters and non-seroconverters 10 years before seroconversion but started to increase approximately 3 years later. Concurrently, precore stop codon (PSC) mutations appeared. Some 2 years later, HBV-DNA declined, together with a dramatic reduction in HBeAg titres. Just before HBeAg seroconversion, seroconverters had HBV-DNA levels 2 log lower (p=0.008), HBeAg titres 310-fold smaller ( p=0.02), PSC mutations > 25 ( p
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1347 - 1355
Number of pages9
JournalGut
Volume62
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2013

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