Precore and contiguous regions of hepatitis B virus in liver transplantation for end-stage hepatitis B

Tomasz Laskus, Jorge Rakela, Jeffery L. Steers, Russel H. Wiesner, David H. Persing

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


Background/Aims: Recurrent hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is the leading cause of mortality and morbidity after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) for HBV-related liver disease, but the extent of viral genetic variation in this setting remains unknown. Methods: Eight patients who underwent OLT for HBV-related liver disease were studied; 7 had cirrhosis and 1 had fulminant hepatitis. Four patients received long-term hepatitis B immunoglobulin prophylaxis. A 240-base pair fragment (1742-1981) comprising the precore region of HBV was amplified by polymerase chain reaction from sera drawn before OLT and 6,12, and 24 months after OLT and analyzed. Results: All sera were positive by polymerase chain reaction. Nucleotide sequence variations were congruent within most patients before and after OLT; however, in one patient, substantial sequence variation was observed, suggesting infection with a new HBV strain. No sequence variation associated with a particular outcome could be identified. Two patients harbored HBV variants with a deletion or insertion upstream of the precore messenger RNA initiation site. Conclusions: Reinfection after OLT can occasionally be caused by HBV strains different from the one present before OLT. Changes within the sequenced region are not predictive of the outcome of reinfection.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1774-1780
Number of pages7
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology


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