Utilization of transgenic mice replicating high levels of hepatitis B virus for antiviral evaluation of lamivudine

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Antiviral Res



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A recently developed transgenic mouse strain which expresses high levels of hepatitis B virus (HBV) was studied as a model for evaluation of potential chemotherapeutic agents. Lamivudine ([−]2′-deoxy-3′-thiacytidine), known to reduce hepatitis B viremia in human patients, and zidovudine (3′-azido-3′-deoxythymidine), previously shown to be ineffective for HBV infections in man, were used in parallel in this transgenic animal model. Orally administered lamivudine at dosages of 100, 50, and 25 mg/kg per day given once a day for 21 days significantly decreased serum and liver HBV DNA titers in a dose-responsive manner. Zidovudine (∼22 mg/kg per day) administered in the drinking water for 21 days was not effective in reducing these HBV parameters as compared to transgenic placebo-treated controls. The serum HBV DNA titers rebounded to high levels 1 week after cessation of lamivudine treatment. Male and female mice responded in a similar manner to these therapies. The results using this transgenic mouse model were similar to what would be predicted from treatment of HBV-infected human patients with lamivudine and zidovudine, and indicate these mice may be useful as a small animal chemotherapeutic model for study of potential HBV inhibitors.