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Int J Cancer. 1979 Jun 15;23(6):746-50.

Simultaneous presence of EBNA-positive and colony-forming cells in peripheral blood of patients with infectious mononucleosis.


EBNA-positive lymphoblast cells were detected in 0.1 to 0.9% of the T-cell-depleted lymphocytes obtained from peripheral blood samples of five patients with infectious mononucleosis (IM). The same blood specimens from four of the five patients contained cells that formed EBNA-positive colonies in soft agar containing EBV antibodies. The ratio of the colony formers to EBNA-positive cells was higher in blood samples taken early in the disease than in those obtained in later stages of the disease. The present results strongly suggest that EBV-transformed cells are present in the peripheral circulation of IM patients and that such cells can directly give rise to immortalized cell lines in vitro.

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