Hepatitis B Core Antibody, IgM, Serum
Clinical Information Discusses physiology, pathophysiology, and general clinical aspects, as they relate to a laboratory test
Hepatitis B virus (HBV) is a DNA virus that is endemic throughout the world. In the initial (acute) phase of infection, anti-hepatitis B core antibodies (anti-HBc) consist almost entirely of the IgM antibody class and appear shortly after the onset of symptoms. Anti-HBc IgM antibody can be detected in serum and is usually present for up to 6 months after acute HBV infection. Anti-HBc IgM may be the only serologic marker of a recent hepatitis B infection detectable following the disappearance of hepatitis B surface antigen (HBsAg) and prior to the appearance of hepatitis B surface antibody (anti-HBs) (ie, serologic window period).
See Viral Hepatitis Serologic Profile in Special Instructions and The Laboratory Approach to the Diagnosis and Monitoring of Hepatitis B Infection in Publications.
Diagnosis of acute hepatitis B infection
Identifying acute hepatitis B virus (HBV) infection in the serologic window period when hepatitis B surface antigen and anti-hepatitis B surface are negative
Differentiation between acute and chronic/past hepatitis B infection in the presence of positive anti-hepatitis B core
A positive result indicates recent acute hepatitis B infection.
A negative result suggests lack of recent exposure to the virus in preceding 6 months.
Cautions Discusses conditions that may cause diagnostic confusion, including improper specimen collection and handling, inappropriate test selection, and interfering substances
The predictive value of a positive anti-hepatitis B core (anti-HBc) IgM test result is low when used to test specimens from patients with low prevalence of acute hepatitis B virus infection.
Performance characteristics have not been established for the following specimen characteristics:
-Grossly icteric (total bilirubin level of >20 mg/dL)
-Grossly lipemic (triolein level of >3,000 mg/dL)
-Grossly hemolyzed (hemoglobin level of >500 mg/dL)
-Containing particulate matter
Reference Values Describes reference intervals and additional information for interpretation of test results. May include intervals based on age and sex when appropriate. Intervals are Mayo-derived, unless otherwise designated. If an interpretive report is provided, the reference value field will state this.
See Viral Hepatitis Serologic Profiles in Special Instructions.
Clinical References Provides recommendations for further in-depth reading of a clinical nature
1. Badur S, Akgun A: Diagnosis of hepatitis B infections and monitoring of treatment. J Clin Virol 2001;21:229-237
2. Servoss JC, Friedman LS: Serologic and molecular diagnosis of hepatitis B virus. Clin Liver Dis 2004;8:267-281