Prevalence and heterogeneity of serum DNA polymerase activity in patients with non-A, non-B hepatitis and HBsAg-negative blood donors with elevated SGPT.

Abstract:

Serum DNA polymerase activity (DNA-P) was detected in 27.6 per cent of non-A, non-B (NANB) hepatitis patients, 8.7 per cent of patients with alcoholic liver disease (ALD), 8.6 per cent of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg)-positive patients and 19.0 per cent of HBsAg-negative blood donors with elevated serum glutamic-pyruvic transaminase (SGPT) concentrations. In contrast, none of the patients with hepatitis A, drug-induced liver injury or non-alcoholic fatty liver had DNA-P in their sera in the acute phase of the illness. All HBsAg-positive samples with detectable DNA-P were strongly positive for hepatitis B virus (HBV) DNA, but the samples from patients with NANB hepatitis and ALD and HBsAg-negative blood donors had no HBV DNA. Sensitivity to actinomycin D showed the heterogeneity of DNA-Ps in HBsAg-negative blood donors; the enzyme activity of one type was inhibited by 100 micrograms/ml of actinomycin D, whereas the other was not. The preference for exogenous template primers of these DNA-Ps was different to those of HBV and human retroviruses. The results reveal the prevalence of serum DNA-P in NANB hepatitis patients and suggest that two distinct agents are relevant to the aetiology of NANB hepatitis.

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