Korean J Pathol.  1995 Oct;29(5):669-677.

The Expression Rate and Pattern of HBcAg and HBsAg in the Hepatocytes According to the Histologic Activity of Cirrhosis

  • 1Department of Pathology, Yonsei University College of Medicine, Seoul, Korea.


Since the discovery of hepatitis B virus as one of the causes of hepatitis, liver and hepatocellular carcinoma, many hepatitis B viral markers that appear in infected individuals have been discovered and many efforts to understand the relationship between the emergence of viral markers and the progression of hepatitis have been performed. Gudat (1975) compared the expression of HBcAg and HBsAg in various conditions and stages of hepatitis but the pattern of expression of viral markers and its significance have not been understood. Recently it was found by mierocytotoxicity assay that HBcAg might be the target of T lymphocytes. This study attempted to identify any correlation of the tissue expression rate and pattern of HBcAg and HBsAg with the histologic activity of 46 cases of liver cirrhosis using immunohistochemical staining. The expression rate and pattern of HBcAg and HBsAg in relation to the nodular size and positivity of serum HBeAg were also compared. The results were as follows; 1) The expression rate of HBcAg in the liver was 41.3% (19/46). and that of HBsAg was 67.4% (31/46). 2) The histologic activity of liver cirrhosis appeared to be correlated with the expression of HBcAg, especially cytoplasmic HBcAg. 3) The positivity of serum HBeAg was significantly higher in active liver cirrhosis. 4) There was no relationship between the tissue expression of HBsAg and the histologic activity of liver cirrhosis. relationship existed between the nodular size and expression rate and pattern of HBcAg and HBsAg. This study suggests that the tissue HBcAg, especially the cytoplasmic HBcAg is the most likely factor determining the histologic activity of liver cirrhosis, and that the cytoplasmic HBcAg may be the ultimate cause and target of most host immune response.


Liver cnyhosis; Histologic activity; HBcAg; HBsAg; HBeAg

MeSH Terms

Carcinoma, Hepatocellular
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