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J Infect Dis. 2008 Sep 1;198(5):673-82. doi: 10.1086/590502.

A new humanized mouse model of Epstein-Barr virus infection that reproduces persistent infection, lymphoproliferative disorder, and cell-mediated and humoral immune responses.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, National Research Institute for Child Health and Development, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo, Japan.


The functional human immune system, including T, B, and natural killer lymphocytes, is reconstituted in NOD/Shi-scid/IL-2Rgamma(null) (NOG) mice that receive hematopoietic stem cell transplants. Here, we show that these humanized mice can recapitulate key aspects of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection in humans. Inoculation with approximately 1 x 10(3) TD(50) (50% transforming dose) of EBV caused B cell lymphoproliferative disorder, with histopathological findings and latent EBV gene expression remarkably similar to that in immunocompromised patients. Inoculation with a low dose of virus (<or=1 x 10(1) TD(50)), in contrast, resulted in apparently asymptomatic persistent infection. Levels of activated CD8(+) T cells increased dramatically in the peripheral blood of infected mice, and enzyme-linked immunospot assay and flow cytometry demonstrated an EBV-specific T cell response. Immunoglobulin M antibody specific to the EBV-encoded protein BFRF3 was detected in serum from infected mice. The NOG mouse is the most comprehensive small-animal model of EBV infection described to date and should facilitate studies of the pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment of EBV infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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