Polymerized human serum albumin may play a role in the entry of hepatitis B virus into hepatocytes, and antibodies to polyalbumin that frequently appear during acute hepatitis may aid the process of viral clearance. We developed an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for antibodies to polymerized woodchuck albumin to enable us to evaluate further the role of these antibodies in an animal model system. Sera from 17 uninfected adult woodchucks and 8 newborns showed no binding to control plates coated with woodchuck transferrin, woodchuck albumin, or polymerized human serum albumin. One of 8 newborn animals demonstrated a significant antibody titer to polymerized woodchuck albumin, and 16 of 17 adults without evidence of prior woodchuck hepatitis virus infection had measurable serum antibody titers. Antibodies to polymerized woodchuck albumin could be adsorbed by prior incubation with the antigen. In 2 animals subjected to experimental infection, significant rises in polyalbumin antibody were seen. When 4 adult woodchucks were immunized with woodchuck polyalbumin, significant increases in-antibody titer were observed in 2 of the 4 animals. Of the 4 immunized and 4 controls subsequently challenged with woodchuck hepatitis virus, 7 became viremic and all 8 developed antibody to woodchuck hepatitis virus core antigen. We conclude that naturally occurring antibodies to polymerized woodchuck albumin are observed in most adult woodchucks in the absence of woodchuck hepatitis virus infection and do not seem to confer immunity against infection with this virus.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Medicine