Few reports exist comparing virological studies on hepatitis viruses with histopathological studies of autopsy cases other than those of liver clinics. Relations between hepatitis virus-related markers and hepatic histopathology were studied in 1044 autopsy cases (779 men and 265 women) at the Medical Examiner's Office, Tokyo. Heart blood was obtained at the autopsy, and the sera were submitted for virus-marker detection of HBV, HCV, and HGV/GBV-C. Hematoxylin and eosin-stained paraffin sections were used for histological assessment. Histopathologically, 463 cases were determined as so-called normal liver; among them 440 cases (95.0%) were negative for all hepatitis virus-related markers, but HBV-DNA was positive in 13 cases, three cases were positive for HCV-RNA (indicating a healthy carrier rate of HCV-RNA of 4.1%), and seven cases were positive for HGV/GBV-C RNA. The incidence of these three virus-related markers was low in cases with fatty liver and micronodular cirrhosis, but in cases with chronic hepatitis, macronodular cirrhosis and hepatocellular carcinoma, the incidence of HBV-DNA and HCV-RNA increased with advancing disease. A positive rate of anti-HBs or anti-HBc (HBV-Ab) or both was found between 30 and 50% in all histopathological groups, and no noticeable relations between the positive rate and microscopical changes were detected. The presence of HGV/GBV-C RNA seemed to be unrelated to hepatic inflammation or generalized inflammatory changes or both occurring together. The decadal age incidence of the virus-related markers and their incidence in various hepatic diseases are also reported. © 2001 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.
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