Sorted B cell transcriptomes point towards actively regulated B cell responses during ongoing chronic hepatitis B infections

Stijn Van Hees, Bart Cuypers, Stefan Bourgeois, Zwier M. A. Groothuismink, Pieter Meysman, Pieter Van der Vlies, Rob de Knegt, Luisa Vonghia, Peter Michielsen, Sven Francque, Kris Laukens, Andre Boonstra, Thomas Vanwolleghem

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-articlepeer-review


The natural course of chronic hepatitis B virus (HBV) infections follows distinct clinical disease phases, char-acterized by fluctuating levels of serum HBV DNA and ALT. The immune cells and their features that govern these clinical disease transitions remain unknown. In the current study, we performed RNA sequencing on pu-rified B cells from blood (n = 42) and liver (n = 10) of healthy controls and chronic HBV patients. We found distinct gene expression profiles between healthy controls and chronic HBV patients, as evidenced by 190 differentially expressed genes (DEG), but also between the clinical phenotypes of a chronic HBV infection (17?110 DEG between each phase). Numerous immune pathways, including the B cell receptor pathway were upregulated in liver B cells when compared to peripheral B cells. Further investigation of the detected DEG suggested an activation of B cells during HBeAg seroconversion and an active regulation of B cell signalling in the liver.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104283
JournalCellular Immunology
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2021


  • B cells
  • Hepatitis B
  • Activation
  • HBeAg seroconversion
  • Intrahepatic
  • RNA sequencing

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