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Eur J Cell Biol. 2012 Jan;91(1):31-5. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcb.2011.01.007. Epub 2011 Apr 1.

The role of virus-specific CD4+ T cells in the control of Epstein-Barr virus infection.

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Clinical Cooperation Group, Pediatric Tumor Immunology, Helmholtz-Zentrum München, Marchioninistrasse 25, Munich, Germany.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) establishes lifelong persistent infections in humans and has been implicated in the pathogenesis of several human malignancies. Protective immunity against EBV is mediated by T cells, as indicated by an increased incidence of EBV-associated malignancies in immunocompromised patients, and by the successful treatment of EBV-associated post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) in transplant recipients by the infusion of polyclonal EBV-specific T cell lines. To implement this treatment modality as a conventional therapeutic option, and to extend this protocol to other EBV-associated diseases, generic and more direct approaches for the generation of EBV-specific T cell lines enriched in disease-relevant specificities need to be developed. To this aim, we studied the poorly defined EBV-specific CD4+ T cell response during acute and chronic infection.

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