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Purpose: The lack of reliable in vitro infection systems or convenient animal models has hindered the progress of hepatitis B virus (HBV) research and the development of new treatment options. We established an in vitro model of hepatitis B, using recombinant HBV encoding baculovirus, which provided HBV replication and antigens expression in HepG2 cells. The objectives of this study were to characterize the magnitude of HBV expression and the level of replication obtainable in HepG2 cells, to establish the optimum infection and culture conditions of HBV expression and replication. Methods: Replication of a competent HBV genome encoding the baculovirus, RC-HBV-Bac, was generated for delivering the HBV genome to HepG2 cells. HBV replication and antigens expression were determined in relation to the infection and culture conditions. Results: In RC-HBV-Bac infected HepG2 cells, HBsAg, HBeAg and HBcAg were expressed in the cytoplasm and nuclei, and secreted into the medium. HBV replication was evidenced by the presence of a replication complex and covalently closed circular (ccc) DNA in the cytoplasmic fraction of infected cells. The level of HBV expression was directly proportional to the multiplication of RC-HBV-Bac infection. Polyethylene glycol was able to enhance the infection efficiency of the baculovirus to HepG2 cells. High levels of HBV replication were achieved under culture conditions supplemented with dimethyl sulfoxide and a low serum concentration. Conclusion: This in vitro model of hepatitis B, generated by baculovirus gene delivery, represents a simple and flexible system for the study of HBV replication and drug testing. (J Korean Surg Soc 2007;72:117-127)