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Biomed Res Int. 2018 May 14;2018:6413815. doi: 10.1155/2018/6413815. eCollection 2018.

Epstein Barr Virus Infection Affects Function of Cytotoxic T Lymphocytes in Patients with Severe Aplastic Anemia.

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Department of Hematology, General Hospital of Tianjin Medical University, Tianjin, China.


Severe aplastic anemia (SAA) is characterized by pancytopenia and failure of hematopoietic function and is caused by excessive functioning of cytotoxic T lymphocytes (CTLs). EBNA-1, a nucleoprotein of the Epstein Barr virus (EBV), can influence the proliferation and function of lymphocytes. We therefore tested the number of EBV copies in the CD8+ T cells of 27 patients with SAA and 10 healthy control subjects and observed the influences of EBNA-1 upon the CD8+ T cells of patients with SAA. The results showed that more EBV copies were found in the CD8+ T cells of patients with untreated SAA than in patients with SAA in remission or in the healthy control subjects. Their copy number was positively correlated with the expression of granzyme B and perforin, the secretion level of interferon-γ in CD8+ T cells, and the viability of CD8+ T cells, whereas no correlation was seen between the copy number and the interleukin 4 secretion level or the apoptosis rate. Meanwhile, the expression of granzyme B and perforin was reduced after EBNA-1 gene knockdown, whereas the interferon-γ secretion level and cell viability declined. Therefore, we infer that EBV infection may be a factor in the activation of CTLs and in damaging the bone marrow hematopoietic function of patients with SAA.

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