Liver Research Unit, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Chang Gung University College of Medicine, 199, Tung Hwa North Road, Taipei, 10591, Taiwan, firstname.lastname@example.org.
It has been suggested hepatic steatosis contributes to seroclearance of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) in chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection. Although HBsAg seroclearance generally confers favorable outcome, hepatic steatosis may account for progressive liver fibrosis and cirrhosis. Further studies are needed to compare clinical and virological characteristics post HBsAg seroclearance between subjects with hepatic steatosis and those without.
One-hundred and fifty-five HBsAg carriers with HBsAg seroclearance were enrolled. Subjects with moderate-severe hepatic steatosis as diagnosed by ultrasonography were designated as having hepatic steatosis.
There were 69 subjects with hepatic steatosis and 86 without. Subjects with hepatic steatosis had significantly higher body mass index (BMI; 27.8 ± 3.5 vs. 23.0 ± 3.1, P < 0.001), were more likely to be male (78.3 vs. 63.9 %, P = 0.05), and were significantly younger at HBsAg seroclearance (48.7 ± 8.9 years vs. 53.4 ± 8.9 years, P = 0.001), than those without. The frequency of anti-HBsAg seroconversion (56.5 vs. 59.3 %, P = 0.72) and HBV viremia (20.3 vs. 15.1 %, P = 0.40) was not significantly different between subjects with and without hepatic steatosis, but the incidence of abnormal AST and ALT was significantly higher in the former (23.2 vs. 0 %, P < 0.0001; and 30.4 vs. 0 %, P < 0.0001, respectively), and progression to liver cirrhosis tended to be more likely in the former than in the latter (10.1 vs. 3.5 %, P = 0.09).
In HBsAg carriers with increased body mass index, hepatic steatosis can accelerate HBsAg seroclearance by approximately 5 years. However, the beneficial effects of HBsAg seroclearance should be balanced against the harmful effects of hepatic steatosis.