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      Isolated Anti-HBc and Occult HBV Infection in Dialysis Patients

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          Occult Hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection (OBI) is defined as the presence of HBV-DNA in the liver or serum with undetectable hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). Hemodialysis (HD) patients are at risk of acquiring parenterally transmitted infections.


          The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of OBI in HD patients.

          Patients and Methods:

          A hundred HBsAg negative HD patients were included in this study from main dialysis units in Tehran, Iran. HBsAg, hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs), hepatitis B core antibody (anti-HBc) and liver enzymes levels were examined in all subjects. The presence of HBV-DNA was determined in plasma samples using real-time PCR.


          A hundredpatients with a mean age of 58.5 ± 16.1 years were enrolled in this study. In total, 56.7% were male and 43.3% female. Anti-HBs, anti-HBc, anti-HCV and anti-HIV were detected in 56.7%, 2%, 5.2% and 1% of patients, respectively. Isolated anti-HBc was detected in 2% of cases. HBV-DNA was detected in 1% of HBsAg negative patients.


          This study showed a low rate of isolated anti-HBc and occult HBV infection in HD patients. It can be due to improvement of people’s knowledge about HBV transmission routes, HBV vaccination of HD patients and regular surveillance of HBV infection.

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          Most cited references 36

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          The changing epidemiology of viral hepatitis B in Iran.

          Hepatitis B virus (HBV) prevalence has decreased dramatically in Iranian population during the last decade, and now our country is classified as having low endemicity for hepatitis B infection. Improvement of the people's knowledge about HBV risk factors, national vaccination program since 1993 for all neonates, and vaccination of high risk groups might justify this decrease. The HBV vaccination started in infants in two provinces (Zanjan and Semnan) in 1989, and in 1993 the vaccination was included in the Expanded Program on Immunization (EPI) countrywide. After 13 years of implementation, the coverage has reached an appropriate level from 62% in 1993 to 94% in 2005. Evaluation of risk factors in HBV infected people is important for designing the strategies to control the disease. Intensifying HB vaccination of high risk groups, surveillance of hepatitis B infected subjects, and control on health state of refugees will further decrease the frequency of the disease in our country. Considering all possible routes of transmission in subjects without risk factors for infection is necessary. Changes in the pattern of transmission of new cases of hepatitis B, inform us of changes in the epidemiology of viral hepatitis B infection.
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            Persistent hepatitis B virus infection in subjects without hepatitis B surface antigen: clinically significant or purely "occult"?

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              Occult hepatitis B virus infection and its clinical implications.

               Qin Hu (2002)
              Occult hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is characterized by presence of HBV infection with undetectable hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). Serum HBV level is usually less than 104 copies/mL in these patients. Diagnosis of occult HBV infection requires sensitive HBV-DNA PCR assay. Several possibilities have been hypothesized as the mechanisms of occult HBV infection. These include: (i) mutations of HBV-DNA sequence; (ii) integration of HBV-DNA into host's chromosomes; (iii) infection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells by HBV; (iv) formation of HBV-containing immune complex; (v) altered host immune response; and (vi) interference of HBV by other viruses. The precise prevalence of occult HBV infection remains to be defined. The clinical implications of occult HBV infection involve different clinical aspects. First of all, occult HBV infection harbours potential risk of HBV transmission through blood transfusion, haemodialysis, and organ transplantation. Second, it may serve as the cause of cryptogenic liver disease, contribute to acute exacerbation of chronic hepatitis B, or even fulminant hepatitis. Third, it is associated with development of hepatocellular carcinoma. Fourth, it may affect disease progression and treatment response of chronic hepatitis C. Most of the previous studies utilized retrospective observation without control groups, and lacked direct association of occult HBV infection with specific pathological changes and disease progression. Highly sensitive, quantitative, and functional molecular analyses of HBV, combined with a well-designed prospective clinical assessment will provide the best approach for the future study of occult HBV infection.

                Author and article information

                Nephrourol Mon
                Nephrourol Mon
                Nephro-urology Monthly
                30 November 2014
                January 2015
                : 7
                : 1
                [1 ]Department of Clinical Research, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, IR Iran
                [2 ]Department of Hepatitis and AIDS, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, IR Iran
                [3 ]Nephrology Research Center, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, IR Iran
                [4 ]Iranian Society for Support Patients With Infectious Diseases, Tehran, IR Iran
                [5 ]TPIRC (Tuberculosis and Pediatric Infectious Research Center), Arak University of Medical Sciences, Arak, IR Iran
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Arezoo Aghakhani, Department of Clinical Research, Pasteur Institute of Iran, Tehran, IR Iran. Tel: +98-2166465147, Fax: +98-2166968852, E-mail: araghakhani@
                Copyright © 2015, Nephrology and Urology Research Center.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License ( which permits copy and redistribute the material just in noncommercial usages, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Research Article

                hepatitis b virus, hemodialysis, infection


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