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Acta Med Okayama. 2004 Aug;58(4):169-80.

A spectrum of clinical manifestations caused by host immune responses against Epstein-Barr virus infections.

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  • 1Department of Dermatology, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine and Dentistry, Okayama 700-8558, Japan. keijiiwa@cc.okayama-u.ac.jp

Abstract

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), or human herpesvirus 4 (HHV-4), infects the vast majority of adults worldwide, and establishes both nonproductive (latent) and productive (lytic) infections. Host immune responses directed against both the lytic and latent cycle-associated EBV antigens induce a diversity of clinical symptoms in patients with chronic active EBV infections who usually contain an oligoclonal pool of EBV-infected lymphocyte subsets in their blood. Episomal EBV genes in the latent infection utilize an array of evasion strategies from host immune responses: the minimized expression of EBV antigens targeted by host cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs), the down-regulation of cell adhesion molecule expression, and the release of virokines to inhibit the host CTLs. The oncogenic role of latent EBV infection is not yet fully understood, but latent membrane proteins (LMPs) expressed during the latency cycle have essential biological properties leading to cellular gene expression and immortalization, and EBV-encoded gene products such as viral interleukin-10 (vIL-10) and bcl-2 homologue function to survive the EBV-infected cells. The subsequent oncogenic DNA damage may lead to the development of neoplasms. EBV-associated NK/T cell lymphoproliferative disorders are prevalent in Asia, but quite rare in Western countries. The genetic immunological background, therefore, is closely linked to the development of EBV-associated neoplasms.

PMID:
15551754
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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