The aim of this study was to investigate the correlation between the expression of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in human ovary and placenta and the vertical transmission of hepatitis B virus (HBV).
Ovarian and placental tissue specimens of pregnant women infected with HBV were collected during cesarean section and immunostained for HBsAg. The sera of the corresponding newborns were tested for HBV markers and HBV DNA. HBsAg was detected in 15 out of 33 (45%) placental tissues and was further detected in capillary endothelial cells in 4 specimens (26%), of which 3 (75%) corresponding infants were infected with HBV in utero. Out of the 33 ovarian tissues, 7 (21%) were positive for HBsAg, of which 2 (28%) showed HBsAg in ovarian follicles and the 2 corresponding infants (100%) had intrauterine HBV infection.