Significance of IgM antibody to hepatitis B core antigen in a Greek population with chronic hepatitis B virus infection

Nicolaos C. Tassopoulos, Maria H. Sjogren, John R. Ticehurst, Ronald E. Engle, Anastasia Roumeliotou‐Karayannis, John L. Gerin, Robert H. Purcell, George Papaevangelou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


ABSTRACT— IgM antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (IgM anti‐HBc) may indicate an active immune response to persistent infection with hepatitis B virus (HBV). We studied 186 Greek HBsAg carriers for IgM anti‐HBc and attempted to correlate it with other HBV and hepatitis delta virus (HDV) markers. Overall, IgM anti‐HBc was detected more frequently than HBV DNA in this population (50% vs 34, p<0.001); this was also true for the 149 of the 186 HBsAg carriers with antibody to hepatitis B e antigen (anti‐HBe) (48% vs 22%, p<0.001). The opposite was found in the carriers positive for hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg): HBV DNA was observed in 93% and IgM anti‐HBc in 64% of the cases (p<0.05). The detection of these markers was independent of sex. Serum alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels were significantly more elevated in patients with positive tests for IgM anti‐HBc and HBV DNA than in patients positive only for HBV DNA (p<0.001) irrespective of their HBeAg or anti‐HBe status. Moreover, the detection of elevated ALT was independent of the intensity of the HBV DNA hybridization signal. Antibodies to hepatitis delta antigen (HDAg) were only found in 4 (2.4%) of 167 patients tested.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-280
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • HBsAg
  • IgM anti‐HBc
  • chronic hepatitis B

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology


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