We report a 57-year-old woman with a 20-year history of hepatitis B presenting with progressive proximal lower limb weakness for the previous 1 month. Previous medical history included a pericardial and pleural effusion, of which no cause was found and pulmonary tuberculosis which has been adequately treated. Examination revealed multiple telangiactasia over face and nail beds and bilateral proximal lower limb weakness of power 4/5. Biochemical investigation revealed a raised erythrocyte sedimentation rate of 36 mm/h, elevated creatinine kinase levels (14,363 IU/L) and raised liver enzymes (alanine aminotransferase 445 IU/L, aspartate aminotransferase 606 IU/L) with high hepatitis B virus DNA (1,021,158 copies/mL). Nerve conduction tests and muscle biopsy were consistent with polymyositis. She received entacavir for hepatitis B treatment. Despite treatment with entacavir for 10 weeks, her weakness persisted and prednisolone was added. Upon commencement of prednisolone, her symptoms and biochemical profiles returned to normal.
Nucleot(s)ide analogues are making milestones in the treatment of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) as safe oral therapy. FDA approved lamivudine in adult patients in 1998, adefovir dipivoxil in 2002, and entecavir in March 2005. Lamivudine is effective in viral suppression, ALT normalization, and improvement in histology in both HBeAg positive and HBeAg negative / HBV DNA positive patients. HBeAg seroconversion rates correlate directly with pretreatment ALT levels at 18-30% after one year of therapy. Hepatitis flares may occur if lamivudine is stopped before HBeAg seroconversion. Lamivudine resistant YMDD mutants emerge at a rate of 15-20% per year of therapy; often associated with the rebound viraemia, relapse of hepatitis or even hepatic decompensation. Durability of response off lamivudine therapy is not satisfactory and may be dependent on duration of therapy post-seroconversion. Lamivudine is well tolerated with few serious adverse events, even in patients with decompensated cirrhosis. Long term therapy in viraemic patients with advanced fibrosis or cirrhosis delays clinical progression. Adefovir dipivoxil is an oral prodrug of adefovir. 10 mg daily is effective in suppressing both wild-type HBV and YMDD mutants, normalising ALT and improving histology. Adefovir dipivoxil has been shown to be well tolerated in longterm therapy. Renal toxicity reported in higher dosages is rarely seen except among patients with creatinine clearance less than 50 ml/min. Adefovir resistance may emerge and the overall rate is much lower than lamivudine, reaching 18% after 4 years of therapy. Adefovir-resistant mutants (rt N236T) are susceptible to lamivudine and entecavir. Little data is available for durability of response off therapy. Entecavir is an oral nucleoside analogue with a recommended dosage of 0.5 mg daily for nucleoside-naive patients, and 1 mg daily for lamivudine-refractory patients. It is a potent antiviral and may also reduced intrahepatitic cccDNA. Entecavir resistance so far has only been detected in lamivudine resistant patients in the one-year studies. Patient counseling is very important to decide on the choice among available therapeutic options. The assessment of the risks/benefits of each option should be carefully explained to individual patient.
In the Asia Pacific region Human Immunodeficiency virus (HIV) is often acquired in individuals already infected with hepatitis B virus (HBV). The immune suppression caused by HIV infection reduces cellular immune response against HBV and liver inflammation may improve, but the risk of developing cirrhosis is not. HBV infection does not affect the progression of HIV disease. Anti-retroviral agents may be directly hepatotoxic and cause ALT elevations in patients with chronic hepatitis. Highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) improves immunity and as cytotoxic lymphocyte responses improve, hepatitis flares can occur, usually r within 3 months of initiation of HAART. These hepatitis flares may be followed by normalization of ALT and clearance of HBVDNA. If lamivudine is included in the HAART regime, hepatitis flares may not occur till late and these late flares signal the development of lamivudine resistant HBV strains (90% of HBV/HIV co-infection). Treatment options for chronic HBV infection include interferon (IFN), and nucleoside analogues. Lamivudine, adefovir dipivoxil, tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (DF) are nucleoside analogues with activity against both HBVDNA polymerase and HIV reverse transcriptase. The latter two compounds have added activity against lamivudine resistant HBVDNA. Lamivudine should be avoided in the initial treatment of both hepatitis B as well as HIV because of the high incidence of resistance. Interferon should be considered first for treatment of HBV in HIV co-infected individuals and is usually unsuccessful in the later stages of HIV infection when immune suppression is extreme. As new and improved agents in HAART continue to prolong survival, the use of liver transplantation for cirrhotic patients co-infected with HIV and HBV may increase.
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) has killed countless lives in human history. The invention of HBV vaccines in the 20(th) century has reduced significantly the rate of the viral infection. However, currently there is no effective treatment for chronic HBV carriers. Newly emerging vaccine escape mutants and drug resistant strains have complicated the viral eradication program. The entire world is now facing a new threat of HBV and human immunodeficiency virus co-infection. Could phage display provide solutions to these life-threatening problems? This article reviews critically and comprehensively the innovative and potential applications of phage display in the development of vaccines, therapeutic agents, diagnostic reagents, as well as gene and drug delivery systems to combat HBV. The application of phage display in epitope mapping of HBV antigens is also discussed in detail. Although this review mainly focuses on HBV, the innovative applications of phage display could also be extended to other infectious diseases.
We investigated the relationship between microbial translocation, immune activation, and liver disease in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/hepatitis B virus (HBV) coinfection. Lipopolysaccharide (LPS), soluble CD14, CXCL10, and CCL-2 levels were elevated in patients with HIV/HBV coinfection. Levels of LPS, soluble CD14, and CCL-2 declined following receipt of HBV-active combination antiretroviral therapy (cART), but the CXCL10 level remained elevated. No markers were associated with liver disease severity on liver biopsy (n = 96), but CXCL10, interleukin 6 (IL-6), interleukin 10 (IL-10), tumor necrosis factor α, and interferon γ (IFN-γ) were all associated with elevated liver enzyme levels during receipt of HBV-active cART. Stimulation of hepatocyte cell lines in vitro with IFN-γ and LPS induced a profound synergistic increase in the production of CXCL10. LPS may contribute to liver disease via stimulating persistent production of CXCL10.
Chronic hepatitis B virus infection is a global public health threat that causes considerable liver-related morbidity and mortality. It is acquired at birth or later via person-to-person transmission. Vaccination effectively prevents infection and chronic hepatitis B virus carriage. In chronically infected patients, an elevated serum hepatitis B virus DNA concentration is the main risk factor for disease progression, although there are other clinical and viral parameters that influence disease outcomes. In addition to liver biochemistry, virological markers, and abdominal ultrasonography, non-invasive assessment of liver fibrosis is emerging as an important assessment modality. Long-term nucleos(t)ide-analogue therapy is safe and well tolerated, achieves potent viral suppression, and reduces the incidence of liver-related complications. However, a need to optimise management remains. Promising novel therapies are at the developmental stage. With current vaccines, therapies, and an emphasis on improving linkage to care, WHO's goal of eliminating hepatitis B virus as a global health threat by 2030 is achievable.