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N Engl J Med. 1989 Oct 19;321(16):1080-5.

Expression of Epstein-Barr virus transformation-associated genes in tissues of patients with EBV lymphoproliferative disease.

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  • 1Department of Cancer Studies, University of Birmingham, United Kingdom.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been associated with serious or fatal lymphoproliferative disease in immunocompromised patients. EBV nuclear protein 2 and latent membrane protein are characteristically expressed in B lymphocytes proliferating in vitro in response to growth transformation by EBV. These two proteins are thought to be effectors of lymphocyte growth since they increase the expression of B-lymphocyte activation (CD23) and cell-adhesion (LFA 3 and ICAM 1) molecules in vitro. Using monoclonal antibody-immune microscopy, we have demonstrated that these two EBV proteins and their associated B-lymphocyte activation or adhesion molecules are expressed in the infiltrating B lymphocytes in immunocompromised patients with EBV lymphoproliferative disease. These monoclonal antibodies should be useful in the early diagnosis of EBV lymphoproliferative disease and in distinguishing it from other B-lymphocyte cancers associated with EBV, such as Burkitt's lymphoma. The finding of EBV nuclear protein 2 and latent membrane protein and their associated activation or adhesion molecules provides a further pathophysiologic link between EBV and the proliferation of B lymphocytes in immunocompromised patients.

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