Hepatitis A antigen (HAAg) was localized in liver tissue from marmosets inoculated with human hepatitis A virus (HAV) by light and electron microscopy by using a peroxidase-conjugated antibody method. The fine granular peroxidase staining was scattered throughout the cytoplasm of liver cells when viewed with the light microscope. The distribution of HAAg-positive cells was focal. Virus-like particles, 24 to 27 nm in diameter, were observed in the cytoplasm of hepatocytes and smaller cells, resembling Kupffer cells, by standard thin-section electron microscopy (thin section EM). By immunoperoxidase electron microscopy (immunoperoxidase EM), HAAg was detected on the particles, which were aggregated within cytoplasmic vesicles of the hepatocyte. The surrounding membrane of the vesicles was also HAAg-positive. Similar HAAg particles were observed in the cytoplasm of smaller cells adjacent to hepatocytes as well. Thus, immunoperoxidase EM revealed that the 24- to 27-nm virus-like particles in the cytoplasma of liver cells obtained from marmosets were infected with HAV contained HAAg.

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