Why HBcAg is not detected in Serum?

By Acharya Tankeshwar •  Updated: 06/11/21 •  1 min read

During the lab diagnosis of hepatitis B virus infection, we perform serological tests in which, we can detect antigens; HBsAg, HBeAg, and antibodies; Anti-HBs, Anti-HBc. You might have wondered if there is an antibody in the serum against Hepatitis B core antigen, why we can not detect hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) from the serum?  In this blog post, I have collected some information to clarify this issue.

Hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) is an intracellular antigen synthesized within infected hepatocytes. Hepatitis B core antigen (HBcAg) are expressed by infected hepatocytes only.

Hepatitis B Core Antigen production and Assembly (source: http://depts.washington.edu)

  Most of the HBcAg that is generated is assembled into the viral core (nucleocapsid). Free HBcAg does not circulate in significant quantity in the blood, but it does circulate as part of the intact hepatitis B virion. So HBcAg is not detected in serum tests but antibodies produced against HBcAg i.e. (anti-HBc) can be detected in the serum throughout the course of HBV infection.

Acharya Tankeshwar

Hello, thank you for visiting my blog. I am Tankeshwar Acharya. Blogging is my passion. As an asst. professor, I am teaching microbiology and immunology to medical and nursing students at PAHS, Nepal. I have been working as a microbiologist at Patan hospital for more than 10 years.

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