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Science. 1997 Jun 27;276(5321):2030-3.

An animal model for acute and persistent Epstein-Barr virus infection.

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Department of Medicine, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School, 181 Longwood Avenue, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a human lymphocryptovirus that causes infectious mononucleosis, persists asymptomatically for life in nearly all adults, and is associated with the development of B cell lymphomas and nasopharyngeal carcinomas. A highly similar rhesus lymphocryptovirus naturally endemic in rhesus monkeys was used to orally infect naïve animals from a pathogen-free colony. This animal model reproduced key aspects of human EBV infection, including oral transmission, atypical lymphocytosis, lymphadenopathy, activation of CD23(+) peripheral blood B cells, sustained serologic responses to lytic and latent EBV antigens, latent infection in the peripheral blood, and virus persistence in oropharyngeal secretions. This system may be useful for studying the pathogenesis, prevention, and treatment of EBV infection and associated oncogenesis.

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