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J Pathol. 1991 Dec;165(4):289-99.

Expression of Epstein-Barr virus replicative proteins in AIDS-related non-Hodgkin's lymphoma cells.

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Laboratory of Immunohistology, University Institute of Pathology, Aarhus Kommunehospital, Denmark.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection in lymphoproliferative lesions has been assumed to be strictly latent. In order to investigate the possible occurrence of EBV replication in AIDS-related lymphoma (ARL) cells, we studied 13 cases by immunohistology using monoclonal antibodies to the EBV-encoded switch-protein BZLF1, early antigens (EAs), late replicative proteins [virus capsid antigens (VCAs) and membrane antigens (MAs)], and to the latent proteins EB nuclear antigen 2 (EBNA 2) and latent membrane protein (LMP). EBV genomes were detected by in situ hybridization. EBV genomes and/or gene products were demonstrated in ten cases, including all immunoblast-rich lymphomas, two Burkitts lymphomas, and a T-cell anaplastic large-cell lymphoma. The BZLF1 protein, which disrupts latency in B cells, was identified in six (60 per cent), and EAs in four (40 per cent) of the EBV-positive ARL. Only one lymphoma (10 per cent) expressed VCAs and MAs. EBNA 2 and LMP were detected in three (30 per cent) and eight (80 per cent) of EBV-positive cases, respectively. EBV DNA was detected in lymphoma cells in 7 of 12 (58 per cent) cases. The most important finding of this study was frequent spontaneous activation of latent EBV in ARL. Production of complete virus, however, was either aborted, or tumour cells expressing late productive cycle proteins (VCA, MA) were rapidly cleared from tissues. It is suggested that host factors that normally inhibit replication of EBV are deficient in AIDS patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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