Persistent hepatitis B virus following interferon alfa therapy and liver transplantation

Joel E. Lavine, John R. Lake, Nancy L. Ascher, Linda D. Ferrell, Don Ganem, Teresa L. Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


A 44-year-old man with chronic hepatitis B virus infection and cirrhosis was treated with recombinant human interferon alfa for 67 days immediately before orthotopic liver transplantation and immunoprophylaxis with hyperimmune globulin to hepatitis B virus in the peritransplant period. Dot blots for hepatitis B virus DNA demonstrated marked reduction in viremia after 41 days of interferon alfa treatment. Southern analysis for hepatitis B virus in liver showed a pronounced decrement in actively replicating forms in the explant, although hepatic infection was still detectable. After liver transplantation, tests for serum hepatitis B virus DNA and hepatitis B surface antigen remained negative. The patient died 32 days after transplantion of causes unrelated to hepatitis B virus. DNA isolated from liver and other visceral organs at autopsy showed infection of the engrafted liver and the persistence of monomeric relaxed circular forms of hepatitis B virus DNA in pancreas, kidney, and spleen. Thus, graft reinfection occurred despite aggressive antiviral therapy and imunoprophylaxis combined with liver transplantation. Existing viral serological markers appear insufficiently sensitive to assess residual infectivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)263-267
Number of pages5
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1991

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