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J Clin Microbiol. 1997 Jun;35(6):1612-5.

Use of quantitative competitive PCR to measure Epstein-Barr virus genome load in the peripheral blood of pediatric transplant patients with lymphoproliferative disorders.

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  • 1Department of Infectious Diseases and Microbiology, Graduate School of Public Health, The Childrens Hospital of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


A quantitative competitive PCR (QC-PCR) assay for Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been developed to provide accurate measurement of EBV genome load in pediatric transplant recipients at risk for developing posttransplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD). The assay quantifies between 8 and 5,000 copies of the EBV genome in 10(5) lymphocytes after a 30-cycle amplification reaction. For 14 pediatric patients diagnosed with PTLD, the median EBV genome load was 4,000, and 13 of the 14 patients had values of >500 copies per 10(5) lymphocytes. Only 3 of 12 control transplant recipients not diagnosed with PTLD had detectable viral genome loads (median value, 40). This median was calculated by using the highest value obtained by PCR testing on each of these patients posttransplantation. PCR values of >500 copies per 10(5) lymphocytes appear to correlate with a diagnosis of PTLD. By a modified protocol, the EBV genome copy number in latently infected adults was estimated to be <0.1 copy per 10(5) lymphocytes.

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