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Complement fixing hepatitis B core antigen immune complexes in the liver of patients with HBs antigen positive chronic disease.
  1. M Rizzetto,
  2. F Bonino,
  3. O Crivelli,
  4. M G Canese,
  5. G Verme

    Abstract

    One hundred and fifty-two biopsies from serologically HBsAg positive and negative patients with liver disease were studied in immunofluorescence: for the presence of the surface (HBs) and the core (HBc) antigenic determinants foeterminants of the hepatitis B virus, of immunoglobulins and complement (C) deposits, and for the capacity to fix human C. Circumstantial evidence is presented suggesting that HBc immune-complexes are a relevant feature in the establishment and progression of chronic HBSAg liver disease. C fixation by liver cells was shown in all HBC positive patients with chronic hepatitis; an active form was present in every case, except two with a persistent hepatitis, an inverse ratio of HBc to C binding fluorescence being noted between active chronic hepatitis and cirrhotic patients. HBc without C fixation was observed in only three patients in the incubation phase of infectious hepatitis. IgG deposits were often found in HBc containing, C fixing nuclei. No C binding or IgG deposits were observed in acute self-limited type B hepatitis, in serologically positive patients with normal liver or minimal histological lesions, with and without HBs cytoplasmic fluorescence in their biopsy, or in serologically negative individuals.

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