The discovery of "ground glass" hepatocytes (GGH) that contain hepatitis B virus (HBV) surface antigens by Hadziyannis and Popper in 1973 represents a historical landmark in the pathology of chronic HBV infection. Different types of GGH have been correlated to the expression patterns of surface/core antigens and the stages of virus replication. The original two types (designated types I & II) of GGH were found to contain specific pre-S mutants with deletions over either pre-S1 or pre-S2 regions, respectively. Type II GGH consistently harbor pre-S2 deletion mutants, which can escape from immune attack and grow preferentially to form clusters. Both types of pre-S mutants can induce endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress and oxidative DNA damage. The pre-S2 mutants, albeit inducing a weaker level of ER stress signals, could additionally initiate ER stress-independent retinoblastoma/adenovirus E2 promoter binding factor/cyclin A signaling through their interaction with c-Jun activation domain binding protein 1 to degrade p27, illustrating the growth advantage of type II GGH. The combined effects of genomic instability and the proliferation of hepatocytes harboring pre-S mutants could potentially lead to hepatocarcinogenesis over the decades of chronic HBV infection. The presence of pre-S mutants in sera was reported to carry a high risk of developing hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC). Furthermore, transgenic mice harboring pre-S2 mutant plasmids have been shown to develop a dysplastic change of hepatocytes and HCC. Therefore, in addition to being a histological marker of chronic HBV infection, GGH, particularly type II GGH, may represent the preneoplastic lesions of HBV-related HCC.
|Number of pages
|Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology (Australia)
|Published - 2008 Aug
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