Research Article

Multiplication of hepatitis B virus in fulminant hepatitis B.

Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984; 288 doi: (Published 28 January 1984) Cite this as: Br Med J (Clin Res Ed) 1984;288:270
  1. C Brechot,
  2. J Bernuau,
  3. V Thiers,
  4. F Dubois,
  5. A Goudeau,
  6. B Rueff,
  7. P Tiollais,
  8. J P Benhamou


    The presence in serum of hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) and hepatitis B virus DNA, which are each regarded as reflecting multiplication of hepatitis B virus, were looked for one to five days after the onset of hepatic encephalopathy in 64 patients with fulminant hepatitis B. HBeAg and hepatitis B virus DNA were found in the serum of only 24 (37%) and six (9%) patients, respectively. Hepatitis B virus DNA was absent from the serum in all 13 patients positive for anti-HBs. These findings indicate that replication of hepatitis B virus stopped after the onset of hepatic encephalopathy in most of the patients and support the view that an enhanced immune response stops the replication. Agents that inhibit viral multiplication would probably not have any effect at this stage of the disease.