The Impact Of Vertical HBV Infection On Immune System Maturity

Michelle Hong
Research Fellow

Research Overview
Vertical (mother-to-child) transmission is the major cause of hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in children in Asia. HBV vertical transmission has been hypothesized to cause a state of immune tolerance to HBV. However, the extent to which the fetal immune system is exposed to HBV antigens and whether this can cause a global alteration of adaptive and innate immunity have never been characterized.
This study aims to gain an understanding of the key components of the immune response to HBV present in cord blood of HBV-infected mothers. We aim to characterize the HBV-specific and global innate and adaptive immune profile using molecular and cellular methods. The characterization of the HBV immune response in utero will provide information about the cause of HBV chronicity in Asian patients and in the management of baby born to HBsAg+ mothers.

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