Heptitis B and C virus infection in HBsAg-negative alcoholics without i.v. drug abuse or previous blood transfusions

Fritz von Weizsäcker, Eiki Maeda, Nancy Brown, Thierry Poynard, Eithan Galun, Siegfried Labeit, Jean Claude Caput, Terukatsu Arima, Hubert Blum, Jack R. Wands*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


The presence of low level hepatitis B virus (HBV) and hepatitis C virus (HCV) infections was assessed in serum from 67 hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) negative alcoholics from France without previous blood transfusions and/or i.v. drug abuse. It was found that 19 67 (28%) of this alcoholic population had past exposure to HBV as shown by the presence of antibodies to the surface (anti-HBs), core (anti-HBc) and e (anti-HBe) antigens. Two patients (3%) had low level circulating encapsidated HBV as determined by the highly sensitive capture PCR technique. Previous exposure to HCV was assessed by three serological tests: the first generation ELISA (C-100-3), a second generation recombinant immunoblot assay (RIBA II) and a radioimmunoassay based on highly conserved HCV core peptide sequences; 7 67 (10.5%) were found to be reactive in at least two serological tests. Among 64 serum samples available for RNA PCR testing, 6 were found to be HCV RNA positive (9.4%). Taken together, 8 67 (13%) of this alcoholic population were positive for HCV by RNA PCR and/or at least two serological tests. We conclude, that even in the absence of known risk factors and HBsAg negativity, patients with alcoholic liver disease have a significantly higher prevalence of markers of past or ongoing HBV or HCV infection than healthy individuals.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)80-87
Number of pages8
JournalInternational Hepatology Communications
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by grants AA-02666, CA-3571 1 and AA-08169 from the National Institutes of Health. F.v.W. was supported by a fellowship from the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft. J.R.W. is the recipient of a Research Scientist Award AA-00048.


  • Alcoholic liver disease
  • Latent HBV infection
  • Latent HCV infection
  • Synthetic oligopeptide


Dive into the research topics of 'Heptitis B and C virus infection in HBsAg-negative alcoholics without i.v. drug abuse or previous blood transfusions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this