Institute of Liver Disease Research, Huai'an Fourth People's Hospital, Huai'an, Jiangsu Province, China; Department of Infectious Diseases, First Affiliated Hospital of Medical College, Xi'an Jiaotong University, Xi'an 710047, Shaanxi Province, China. Electronic address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The mechanism of intrauterine hepatitis B virus infection has not been established. In this study, venous blood, cord blood, and placental tissues from 171 chronic hepatitis B virus infected pregnant women were tested for hepatitis B surface antigen, hepatitis B core antigen, and hepatitis B virus DNA. We found that residence, mode of delivery, age, and number of gestational weeks of pregnant women were not correlated with intrauterine hepatitis B virus infection, while neonates of mothers who were hepatitis B s antigen positive and hepatitis B e antigen positive (P < 0.01) or who had high hepatitis B virus DNA levels (≥106 copies/ml) were more likely to get an intrauterine infection (P < 0.01). The hepatitis B virus infection rate in placental cell layers gradiently decreased from the mother's side to the fetus's side of the placenta, but the odds ratio value of correlation between placental hepatitis B virus infection and intrauterine infection gradiently increased. The way of intrauterine hepatitis B virus infection may be through a layer-layer transmission pathway, although the possibility of placental leakage cannot be excluded.