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Correlation of HBV Core-Related Antigen with Conventional Serologic Indicators of Hepatitis B and Disease Stage by Yinmiao Wang, Xiaohua Jin, Qunxin Peng, Hang Run, Yanhui Song

Background: Hepatitis B caused by hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a serious global public health issue. Currently, serological indicators serve as important markers for the diagnosis of hepatitis B. It has been found that HBV core-related antigen (HBcrAg) correlates well with intrahepatic cccDNA, intrahepatic HBV DNA, serum HBV DNA, and hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg). To provide a more reliable basis for the diagnosis and treatment of hepatitis B, we explored the correlation between HBcrAg and conventional serologic testing indicators and disease staging.
Methods: Five hundred forty-two patient serum samples were collected at the First Affiliated Hospital of Soochow University from November 2021 to March 2022. The serum HBcrAg was measured by the magnetic particle chemiluminescence method in addition with other serum indicators.
Results: HBcrAg statistically correlated with HBV DNA level (r = 0.655, p < 0.001) and HBeAg level (r = 0.945, p < 0.001. The mean HBcrAg levels in the immune-tolerant and immune-clearance phases were significantly higher than those in the immunologic-control phase and the reactivation phase. This study demonstrated that serum HBcrAg positively correlated with serum HBV DNA and HBeAg. Even in cases where HBV DNA and HBeAg are negative, there is still a higher positivity rate of HBcrAg in hepatitis B patients.
Conclusions: HBcrAg is a reliable serum marker to avoid underdiagnosis of occult HBV infection.

DOI: 10.7754/Clin.Lab.2024.231217