Hepatitis B e antigen (HBeAg) and its antibody (anti-HBe) are found in association with hepatitis B viral infection. HBeAg is first detectable in the early phase of hepatitis B viral infection, after the appearance of
hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg). The titers of both antigens rise rapidly during the period of viral replication in acute infection. Seroconversion from HBeAg to anti-HBe during acute hepatitis B infection is usually indicative of resolution of infection and a reduced level of infectivity. A negative HBeAg result may indicate (1) early acute infection before the peak of viral replication or (2) early convalescence when HBeAg has declined below detectable levels. The presence of anti-HBe serves to distinguish between these two phases. A subset of chronic hepatitis B patients have no detectable HBeAg in serum, but are positive for anti-HBe; these patients may also be positive for serum hepatitis B virus DNA.
Additionally HBe antigen/antibody seroconversion is used as an indicator of virological response when treating patients with chronic hepatitis B.
Manufacturer’s Reagent package insert, Architect Anti-HBe, February 2016, Abbott GmbH &Co.KG, MAX-Planck-Ring 2, 65205 Wiesbaden, Germany