It has been reported that hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA is present in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs), although it is unclear whether it actually replicates there or is adsorbed from serum. HBV DNA sequences from the core promoter and precore regions were amplified from PBMCs and serum taken from 13 patients with hepatitis B infection. Analysis by single strand conformation polymorphism, direct sequencing and cloning revealed identical HBV DNA sequences in both PBMCs and serum from five patients with acute hepatitis and in five out of eight patients with chronic hepatitis. However, in the remaining three chronic hepatitis cases, HBV DNA sequences in both PBMCs and serum were different: two patients harboured HBV DNA sequences from their PBMCs with deletions/insertions in the core promoter region and one patient harboured HBV DNA sequences from their PBMCs with two nucleotide substitutions. These findings point to a possible presence of independent HBV DNA replication in PBMCs.
ASJC Scopus subject areas