Using immunodiffusion, a major cross‐reactivity had been previously demonstrated between hepatitis B(HBe/3 Ag) and the antigen reported in the serum of non‐A, non‐B hepatitis patients, therefore redesignated NANBe Ag. By direct immunofluorescence a new antigen associated with, but distinct from, NANBe Ag has now been identified in the liver of 14/26 patients with NANB chronic active hepatitis. The homologous antibody was detected in the serum of these 14 patients. Behaving like HBc Ag and cross reacting with it by immunofluorescence, the new antigen was termed NANBc Ag. Anti NANBc also became detectable in serial acute phase and convalescence sera from 5/5 NANB Ag‐positive posttransfusion hepatitis cases. Further characterization of NANBe and NANBc antigens achieved by fractionation of a NANB virus‐infected liver showed NANBc Ag to be expressed on 22–25 nm HB core‐like particles containing DNA polymerase activity. Cross‐reactivity between NANBc and HBc antigens was confirmed by immunodiffusion. Liver‐derived NANBe Ag identical to serum NANBe Ag exhibited the same physical properties as HBe/3 Ag and could be similarly released by disruption of the non‐A, non‐B virus cores. These results indicate that hepatitis B and NANB virions not only share the same structure and DNA polymerase activity but are also antigenically related and belong to the same new class of DNA viruses.
Journal of Medical Virology – Wiley
Published: Jan 1, 1981
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