Significance of antibody to hepatitis B core antigen in blood donors as determined by their serologic response to hepatitis B vaccine

S. K. Aoki, I. K. Kuramoto, C. Douville, C. Richards, R. Randell, Leonor P Fernando, P. V. Holland, J. B. Zeldis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

44 Scopus citations


Because large numbers of volunteer blood donors may be disqualified for “false‐positive” results on tests for antibody to hepatitis B core antigen (anti‐HBc), a more specific definition of anti‐HBc enzyme immunoassay (EIA)‐reactive was evaluated, including only those donor samples that were “strongly” reactive (sample‐to‐cutoff absorbance ratio, < 0.45). Results using this definition and other anti‐HBc test methods were compared to the serologic response (antibody to hepatitis B surface antigen [anti‐HBsAg]) to hepatitis B vaccination. Fifty‐eight volunteer blood donors who had previously been deferred as donors, because of reactive anti‐HBc tests (all other blood screening tests were negative, including those for HBsAg and anti‐HBsAg) on two occasions, were vaccinated for hepatitis B. It was assumed that an anamnestic response to vaccine indicated past infection with hepatitis B, while a primary response to vaccine indicated lack of past infection. One (2%) of 43 donors with a historically “weak” anti‐HBc (reactive absorbance ratio, > or = 0.45) had an anamnestic response to vaccine, compared to 8 (53%) of 15 with historically “strong” anti‐HBc (reactive absorbance ratio, < 0.45) (p < 0.005). Anti‐HBc testing using the microparticle EIA method also correlated well with hepatitis B vaccination results. The use of a narrower definition of “reactive” for anti‐HBc EIA testing yielded much more specific, but slightly less sensitive, results. 1993 AABB

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)362-367
Number of pages6
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology
  • Hematology

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