New hepatitis B virus mutant form in a blood donor that is undetectable in several hepatitis B surface antigen screening assays.
Jongerius JM. Wester M. Cuypers HT. van Oostendorp WR. Lelie PN. van der Poel CL. van Leeuwen EF.
Red Cross Blood Bank Midden-Nederland, Utrecht, The Netherlands.
BACKGROUND: Envelope mutant forms of hepatitis B virus (HBV), impairing HBV antibody recognition, have been reported with mutations in single or multiple sites of the hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) group-specific "a" determinant. Blood donors infected with such an HBsAg mutant form of HBV may escape detection by HBsAg screening assays and therefore may affect the safety of the blood supply. CASE REPORT: A repeat blood donor became HBsAg-reactive in an enzyme immunoassay. Confirmatory testing yielded negative results for HBsAg in a radioimmunoassay and in four enzyme immunoassays used in blood donor screening. The specificity of the HBsAg reactivity in the first enzyme immunoassay was confirmed by HBsAg neutralization with antibody to HBsAg. Additional HBV confirmatory test results were positive for antibody to hepatitis B core antigen and antibody to hepatitis B e antigen; negative for antibody to HBsAg and for hepatitis B e antigen; and positive for HBV DNA. DNA sequence analysis of the "a" determinant region of HBsAg revealed amino acid substitutions from Q (Gln) to R (Arg) at codon 129 and from M (Met) to T (Thr) at codon 133. CONCLUSION: This case illustrates the presence of HBsAg mutant forms of HBV in a West European blood donor population that were undetected by several HBsAg screening assays. Adaptation of HBsAg screening is indicated to overcome deficiencies in sensitivity in detecting HBsAg mutant forms of HBV. Screening for antibody to hepatitis B core antigen or HBV DNA may also detect blood donors infected with HBsAg mutant forms of HBV
Lack of evidence of hepatitis C infection in 290 blood component recipients, demonstrated by several single-antigen research immunoassays.
Henrard DR. Berthillon P. Scheffel JW. Ladaique PL. Moore BS. Pailhous MC. Finetti PH. Trepo C.
Department of Medical Research, Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, Illinois, USA.
BACKGROUND: A group of 290 transfusion recipients enrolled in a prospective study of posttransfusion hepatitis was studied to determine the possibility of previously unrecognized hepatitis C virus (HCV) transmission. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Before and after transfusion, blood specimens that were negative in first-generation enzyme immunoassay (EIA) were tested by current commercial EIAs, several single-antigen research EIAs, and supplemental tests. RESULTS: Current second- and third-generation EIAs identified five subjects (1.7% of total) who had chronic hepatitis C before transfusion. Twenty additional sera had some reactivity with research EIAs. However, those results were the same before and after transfusion (n = 7), had reverted to partially reactive or nonreactive (n = 8), or could not be confirmed by serologic tests or polymerase chain reaction in follow-up specimens (n = 5). CONCLUSIONS: Transient or restricted reactivity to HCV antigens measured by more sensitive research EIAs does not seem to correspond to recent HCV transmission by transfusion. Whether such reactivity could reflect remote HCV infection, with the potential for chronic or intermittent viremia, remains to be determined.
Prevalence and infectivity of hepatitis G virus and its strain variant, the GB agent, in volunteer blood donors in Taiwan.
Wang JT. Chen PJ. Liu DP. Sheu JC. Wang TH. Chen DS.
Department of Bacteriology and the Graduate Institute of Clinical Medicine, College of Medicine, National Taiwan University, Taipei, Republic of China.
BACKGROUND: The prevalence of hepatitis G virus (HGV) and its strain variant, the GB agent (GBV-C) is high in non-virus-inactivated plasma products, but, persistent infection in recipients is relatively low. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Stored samples from transfusion donors and recipients in a prospective study of posttransfusion hepatitis were tested for HGV RNA and antibody to the E2 protein (anti-E2). RESULTS: Thirty-two (2.1%) of the 1500 qualified donors were positive for HGV RNA. Twenty-four persons had received a transfusion of blood from one of these 32 viremic donors. Of these 24 recipients, 3 were positive for HGV RNA before transfusion. Of the remaining 21 recipients, 8 became viremic after transfusion, while the other 13 were not infected. Four of the eight infected recipients were persistently positive for HGV RNA, while four became negative in 1 to 3 years. Three of the four patients with HGV clearance seroconverted to anti-E2 positivity. Comparison of the viral titer, viral sequences at E2, storage period of blood donations, and clinical data in the infected and noninfected recipients revealed no significant differences. However, the noninfected recipients seemed to have a higher prevalence of anti-E2 before transfusion. CONCLUSION: The prevalence of HGV viremia in volunteer blood donors in Taiwan is 2.1 percent, and blood from 0.6 percent of them actually causes HGV infection in the recipients. In half of infected recipients, clearance of HGV occurs. Anti-E2 appears in most recipients whose viremia is cleared.
Viremia, genetic heterogeneity, and immunity to hepatitis G/GB-C virus in multiply transfused patients with thalassemia.
Zemel R. Dickman R. Tamary H. Bukh J. Zaizov R. Tur-Kaspa R.
Molecular Hepatology Research Laboratory, Felsenstein Medical Research Center, Tel-Aviv University, Israel.
BACKGROUND: Thalassemia patients are at high risk for posttransfusion hepatitis. Hepatitis G virus (HGV) has been suspected of being responsible for acute and chronic hepatitis. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: The prevalence of HGV infection, its possible association to liver disease, the genetic heterogeneity among the various HGV isolates, and immunity to HGV were studied in 36 thalassemia patients with reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction assay and sequence analysis. RESULTS: HGV RNA was detected in seven patients (19.4%), only two of whom had evidence of hepatitis C virus infection as well. Sequence analysis of the NS3 gene from isolates of the five patients infected with HGV alone revealed 84.7 to 90.9 percent homology at the nucleotide level. Prolonged HGV viremia was not associated with significant liver enzyme elevation. All five patients were chronically infected with the same viral strain. E2 antibodies were detected in 57 percent of the HGV-nonviremic patients and in only 1 of 7 viremic patients. CONCLUSION: HGV is associated with persistent viremia but not with significant biochemical evidence of liver damage. There is some genetic heterogeneity among HGV isolates from thalassemia patients in Israel.
Transmission of hepatitis G virus in patients with angioedema treated with steam-heated plasma concentrates of C1 inhibitor.
De Filippi F. Castelli R. Cicardi M. Soffredini R. Rumi MG. Silini E. Mannucci PM. Colombo M.
Angela Maria e Antonio Migliavacca Center for Liver Disease, Department of Internal Medicine, Istituto di Ricovero e Cura a Carattere Scientifico Maggiore Hospital, University of Milan, Italy.
BACKGROUND: Hepatitis G virus (HGV) is a blood-borne flavivirus that may cause acute and chronic transfusion-transmitted infections. Patients with complement component 1 (C1) inhibitor (C1-INH) deficiency may acquire blood-borne infections through infusion of plasma concentrates. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: Serum samples from 84 patients with C1-INH deficiency (19 who received unmodified C1-INH concentrates, 23 who received steam-heated concentrates, and 42 untreated patients) were tested for HGV RNA and hepatitis C virus (HCV) RNA by a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The samples were also tested for antibodies to the E2 envelope protein of HGV (anti-HGV) and to HCV with enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. RESULTS: Nine (11%) patients had serum HGV RNA; that is, 7 (17%) of 42 patients previously treated with C1-INH concentrates and 2 of 42 previously untreated patients. HGV RNA was as common in the 19 patients treated with unmodified concentrates as in the 23 given steam-heated concentrates (16 vs. 17%, p = 0.60). Anti-HGV was more common among the recipients of unmodified concentrates than among those given steam-heated concentrates (26 vs. 0%, p = 0.014). HCV RNA was more frequently detected in treated patients than in untreated patients (33 vs. 7%, p = 0.005) and in the 19 recipients of unmodified concentrates than in the 23 treated with steam-heated concentrates (58 vs. 16%, p = 0.003). Only one HGV RNA-seropositive patient had elevated serum aminotransferase activity, compared to 11 with HCV RNA. CONCLUSION: HGV was transmitted by both unmodified and steam-heated concentrates, but it caused persistent viremia in a minority of the cases and was rarely associated with liver disease.
Effective removal of copper by plasma exchange in fulminant Wilsons disease.
Kiss JE. Berman D. Van Thiel D.
Division of Hematology/Bone Marrow Transplantation, University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pennsylvania, USA.
BACKGROUND: Patients who present with fulminant hepatic failure due to Wilson's disease may develop hemolytic anemia and renal insufficiency. In this entity, acute hepatocellular necrosis triggers the release of copper ions into the circulation, which leads to toxic effects on red cell metabolic pathways and hemolysis. STUDY DESIGN AND METHODS: The utility of therapeutic plasma exchange to rapidly remove copper and reduce toxic serum copper levels was studied in two patients with fulminant Wilson's disease. RESULTS: Intensive plasma exchange using fresh-frozen plasma replacement removed substantial amounts of copper from the hypercupremic patients, resulting in a rapid reduction in serum copper levels and decreased hemolysis. The net copper removal was proportional to the serum level, ranging from 7,000 to 11,800 micrograms per procedure in one patient and from 3,700 to 6,800 micrograms in the other. CONCLUSION: Plasma exchange allows a rapid reduction in elevated serum copper levels in patients with fulminant Wilson's disease. This leads to an amelioration of hemolytic anemia and provides clinical stabilization until liver transplantation can be performed.