Comparison between HBe antigen–negative patients and HBe antigen-positive patients with chronic hepatitis B infection in Benghazi, Libya

Original article


Abdul-Nasser Y. Elzouki 1; Samera Belkhair 1; Ali Tumi 2

1- Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Garyounis University, Benghazi, Libya.2- Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Al-Fateh University, Tripoli, Libya.

Libyan J Infect Dis. Vol. 1, No.1. Jan-2007:26-31


Objectives: To determine the frequency of HBeAg–negative/anti-HBe-positive chronic hepatitis B in Libyan patients with chronic hepatitis B, in Benghazi, Libya, and to compare the epidemiological, biochemical, serologic and histologic features in HBe-Ag-negative patients and HBeAg-positive patients with chronic hepatitis B in these two groups of patients. Patients and Methods: One hundred and fifty HBsAg–positive patients with chronic hepatitis presented consecutively to the liver clinic, Al-Jamahiriya Teaching Hospital, Benghazi, between January 2002 and December 2003 were studied. The 150 patients were divided into two groups, according to their HBe status: group 1 consisted of 30 patients with serum HBeAg-positive, group 2 comprised 120 patients with positive serum anti-HBe and negative serum HBeAg. Epidemiological features were assessed in all patients from their medical records. Serological tests for HBsAg, HBeAg and HBeAb were performed by ELISA techniques. HBV-DNA levels were performed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Results: The two groups did not differ in sex distribution, and the average age was higher in patients who were HBeAg-negative. History of hepatitis in family members was more observed in the HBeAg-negative group (p=0.01). No difference was observed between the two groups with respect to other risk factors and serum ALT levels at the time of diagnosis. The time course of ALT levels observed in patients during the 6 month follow up did not differ between the two groups (p=NS). In the HBeAg negative group, although there was a trend towards decreasing the mean serum level of HBV-DNA, this change did not approach the statistical significance level. Cirrhosis and fibrosis were more common in patients with HBeAg-negative chronic hepatitis B group (p<0.05 for both parameters). Keywords: Hepatitis B virus, HBeA-negative hepatitis, HBeAg-positive hepatitis, E-minus type hepatitis B. Link/DOI: