Table of Contents
Journal of Biomarkers
Volume 2013, Article ID 812170, 8 pages
Research Article

T-Cell Response to Hepatitis B Core Antigen: Identification of Prior Exposure to and Confirmatory Testing for Screening for Anti-HBc

1Infection Diseases Laboratory, Colsan/UNIFESP, Avenida Indianópolis, 1260 Indianópolis, São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2American Red Cross, USA
3Colsan, Technical and Research Department, Brazil
4Colsan, Quality Laboratory, Brazil
5Retrovirology Laboratory, UNIFESP, Brazil
6Colsan, Associação Beneficente de Coleta de Sangue, Head Colsan, Brazil

Received 18 June 2013; Revised 8 September 2013; Accepted 8 September 2013

Academic Editor: Rajarshi Pal

Copyright © 2013 Patricia Araujo et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Background. During routine donor screening in the blood bank, it is not uncommon to find isolated reactivity for anti-HBc in the absence of detectable HBV DNA in a first donation but absence of reactivity to anti-HBc in subsequent donations, suggesting a false-positive result for anti-HBc. Study Design and Methods. The blood donor population was screened between January 2010 and October 2011. We selected 2,126 donations positive only for anti-HBc from a total of 125,068 donations. During the process, OBI donors were identified, and their HBcAg-specific T-cell response was analyzed and compared to donors with chronic (HBsAg positive) and recovered (anti-HBc only) infection. We analyzed correlations between signal levels (Co/s) in the competitive assay for anti-HBc and HBV DNA detection. Results. In the 21-month study period, 21 blood donors with anti-HBc alone were identified as OBI (1 in each 5955 donors). The relevant finding was the observation that anti-HBc only subjects with did not have either HBcAg-specific T-cells or detectable HBV DNA and OBI subjects presented with and HBcAg T-cell response. In the subset of 21 OBI subjects, 9 donors remained positive for HBcAg T-cell response after four collections. In all 9 samples, we observed HBV DNA fluctuation. Conclusion. Our data suggest that HBcAg-specific T-cell response could be used to confirm anti-HBc serological status, distinguishing previous exposure to Hepatitis B virus from anti-HBc false-positive results.