Predictive value of serum ALT and T-cell receptor beta variable chain for HBeAg seroconversion in chronic hepatitis B patients during tenofovir treatment

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Effective antiviral therapy plays a key role in slowing the progression of chronic hepatitis B (CHB). Identification of serum indices, including hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) expression and seroconversion, will facilitate evaluation of the efficacy of antiviral therapy in HBeAg-positive CHB patients. The biochemical, serological, virological parameters, and the frequency of circulating CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cell (Treg) in 32 patients were measured at baseline and every 12 weeks during 96 weeks of tenofovir disoproxil fumarate (TDF) treatment. The relationship between the hepatitis B virus (HBV) deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) and Treg and alanine aminotransferase (ALT) levels was analyzed, respectively. The molecular profiles of T-cell receptor beta variable chain (TRBV) were determined using gene melting spectral pattern. For the seroconverted 12 patients, ALT declined to normal levels by week 24 and remained at this level in subsequent treatment; moreover, the predictive cutoff value of ALT for HBeAg seroconversion (SC) was 41.5 U/L at week 24. The positive correlation between HBV DNA and Treg and ALT was significant in SC patients, but not in non-SC patients. Six TRBV families (BV3, BV11, BV12, BV14, BV20, and BV24) were predominantly expressed in SC patients at baseline. The decline of ALT could be used to predict HBeAg seroconversion for CHB patients during TDF treatment. In addition, the profile of Tregs and TRBVs may be associated with HBeAg seroconversion and could also be a potential indicator for predicting HBeAg SC and treatment outcome for CHB patients.

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