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    Chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection is a dynamic process involving interactions among HBV, hepatocytes, and the host immune system. The natural course of chronic hepatitis B (CHB) is divided into four chronological phases, including the hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg)-positive and HBeAg-negative phases. During HBV flare, alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels abruptly rise to >5× the upper limit of normal; this is thought to occur due to the immune response against an upsurge in serum HBV DNA and antigen levels. Hepatitis flares may occur spontaneously, during or after antiviral therapy, or upon immunosuppression or chemotherapy in both HBeAg-positive and HBeAg-negative patients. The clinical spectrum of HBV flares varies from asymptomatic to hepatic decompensation or failure. HBeAg seroconversion with ≥ 1 year of consolidation therapy is accepted as an endpoint of oral antiviral therapy in HBeAg-positive patients, but recommendations for treating HBeAg-negative patients differ. Thus, the management of HBeAg-negative patients has attracted increasing interest. In the current review, we summarize various types of HBV flares and the associated complex cascade of innate and adaptive immune responses, with a focus on HBeAg-negative CHB patients. Hopefully, this review will provide insight into immunopathogenesis to improve the management of HBV flares in HBeAg-negative CHB patients.


    Ming-Ling Chang, Yun-Fan Liaw. Hepatitis B Flare in Hepatitis B e Antigen-Negative Patients: A Complicated Cascade of Innate and Adaptive Immune Responses. International journal of molecular sciences. 2022 Jan 28;23(3)

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    PMID: 35163476

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