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A novel mouse xenotransplantation model of EBV-T/NK-LPD and the application of the mouse model.

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Department of Infectious Diseases, National Research Institute for Child Health and Development.


Chronic active Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection (CAEBV), characterized by proliferation of EBV-infected T or NK cells, is a disease of unknown pathogenesis and requires hematopoietic stem cell transplantation for curative treatment. Here we show that intravenous injection of peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from patients with CAEBV to NOD/Shi-scid/IL-2R γ(null) (NOG) mice leads to engraftment of EBV-infected T or NK cells. Analysis of TCR repertoire identified an identical predominant EBV-infected T-cell clone both in a patient and a mouse transplanted with his PBMCs. EBV-infected T or NK cells infiltrated to most major organs including the liver, spleen, lungs, kidneys, adrenal glands, and intestine, showing histological characteristics of CAEBV. Expression of EBNA1, LMP1, and LMP2A, but not EBNA2, in these cells indicated the latency II program of EBV gene characteristic to CAEBV. High levels of TNF-α, IFN-γ, and RANTES were detected in the peripheral blood of these mice. EBV-containing fractions of either CD8(+), γδT, or NK cell lineages failed to engraft, once they were isolated from PBMCs ; they could engraft only when CD4(+) cell fraction was transplanted in parallel. Isolated EBV-containing CD4(+) T cells, in contrast, did engraft on their own. This is the first report of an animal model of CAEBV and suggest that EBV-infected T or NK cells in CAEBV are not truly neoplastic but are dependent on CD4(+) T cells for their proliferation in vivo.

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