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Int J Cancer. 1989 Jan 15;43(1):67-71.

Epstein-Barr virus-infected B cells persist in the circulation of acyclovir-treated virus carriers.

Author information

1
Department of Cancer Studies, University of Birmingham, Medical School, UK.

Abstract

In this study, infectious Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) shedding in the oropharynx and numbers of virus-infected B cells in the blood have been monitored in long-term virus carriers receiving acyclovir (ACV) therapy for herpes zoster. Eleven patients on oral ACV were followed prospectively before, during and for 2 weeks after treatment. As expected, the low levels of EBV shedding in these virus carriers (measured as cord-blood lymphocyte transforming activity in throat washings) were eliminated during the period of ACV treatment and returned at later times. Over the same period, however, the frequency of virus-infected B cells in the blood (measured by spontaneous transformation in limiting dilution assay) remained completely unchanged. Regression assays showed that these same patients had normal levels of EBV-specific cytotoxic T-cell immunity, so that the in vivo persistence of virus-infected B cells could not be ascribed to a defect in T-cell surveillance. We infer that the in vivo half-life of the virus-infected B-cell pool in long-term virus carriers is measured in months rather than days. We further suggest that such persistence requires a novel form of virus:B-cell interaction distinct from the type of "latent" infection displayed by in vitro-transformed cells.

PMID:
2536009
DOI:
10.1002/ijc.2910430115
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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