Abstract

Serums containing the "e" antigen of hepatitis B virus were subjected to electrophoresis in polyacrylamide gel. An extra band appeared in the lactate dehydrogenase isozyme pattern, but this band was undetectable in serums containing antibodies to the e antigenic determinant. Prior separation of the lactate dehydrogenase isozyme-5 fraction by chromatography of serum on minicolumns of diethylaminoethyl-Sephadex-A50 improved electrophoretic identification of the extra band. Neutralization with antibodies to the e antigen as well as by antibodies to the homologous d or y component of the hepatitis B surface antigen removed the extra band; antibodies to the lactate dehydrogenase isozyme-5 removed both the normal and the extra enzymatic band of isozyme-5. This feature of the e antigen provides an assay system for laboratory diagnosis of potential clinical usefulness and suggests its possible role in pathogenesis of hepatocellular injury.