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Concept: Epstein-Barr virus


BACKGROUND: Food allergy has been reported increasingly around the world during the past several decades. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a common herpesvirus with high infection rate, is now suspected to be a risk or protective factor in food allergy. The aim of the study was to investigate the possible role of EBV infection in IgE-mediated food allergy. METHODS: 34 patients with an egg allergy and 34 healthy controls participated in this study. Egg allergy was confirmed by open-food challenge. Serum anti-viral capsid antigen (VCA), anti-Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA-1) IgG and egg specific (yolk and white)-IgE levels were evaluated by enzyme linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). At the same time, EBV DNA as well as viral miRNAs in these samples was quantified by real-time PCR. RESULTS: The results showed that serum anti EBNA-1 IgG and two viral miRNAs (miR-BART1-5p and miR-BART7) were highly expressed in patients with egg allergy compared with healthy controls (p < 0.05, < 0.001 and < 0.01, respectively). Moreover, the expressions of anti EBNA-1 specific IgG, miR-BART1-5p and miR-BART7 positively correlated with the level of egg-specific IgE (p < 0.05, < 0.01 and < 0.01, respectively). The differences in anti VCA IgG concentration and EBV DNA copy number between the allergy patients and control individuals were not statistically significant. CONCLUSIONS: The high expression of EBV-specific antibody and miRNAs indicated that EBV infection might play a promoting role in IgE-mediated egg food allergy, and viral miRNAs-related immunomodulatory pathway was likely involved in this allergy process.

Concepts: Immune system, Antibody, Virus, Egg, Immunology, Allergy, Food allergy, Epstein-Barr virus


Encephalitis is a severe neurological syndrome usually caused by viruses. Despite significant progress in diagnostic techniques, the causative agent remains unidentified in the majority of cases. The aim of the present study was to test an alternative approach for the detection of putative pathogens in encephalitis using next-generation sequencing (NGS).

Concepts: Virus, Herpes simplex virus, Herpesviridae, Herpes simplex, Epstein-Barr virus, Virus latency, Varicella zoster virus, Alphaherpesvirinae


Gammaherpesviruses human herpesvirus 4 (HHV4) and HHV8 are two prominent members of the herpesvirus family associated with a number of human cancers. HHV4, also known as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a ubiquitous gammaherpesvirus prevalent in 90 to 95% of the human population, is clinically associated with various neurological diseases such as primary central nervous system lymphoma, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease, cerebellar ataxia, and encephalitis. However, the possibility that EBV and Kaposi’s sarcoma-associated herpesvirus (KSHV) can directly infect neurons has been largely overlooked. This study has, for the first time, characterized EBV infection in neural cell backgrounds by using the Sh-Sy5y neuroblastoma cell line, teratocarcinoma Ntera2 neurons, and primary human fetal neurons. Furthermore, we also demonstrated KSHV infection of neural Sh-Sy5y cells. These neuronal cells were infected with green fluorescent protein-expressing recombinant EBV or KSHV. Microscopy, genetic analysis, immunofluorescence, and Western blot analyses for specific viral antigens supported and validated the infection of these cells by EBV and KSHV and showed that the infection was efficient and productive. Progeny virus produced from infected neuronal cells efficiently infected fresh neuronal cells, as well as peripheral blood mononuclear cells. Furthermore, acyclovir was effective at inhibiting the production of virus from neuronal cells similar to lymphoblastoid cell lines; this suggests active lytic replication in infected neurons in vitro. These studies represent a potentially new in vitro model of EBV- and KSHV-associated neuronal disease development and pathogenesis.

Concepts: AIDS, Nervous system, Neuron, Brain, Virus, Herpesviridae, Epstein-Barr virus, Kaposi's sarcoma-associated herpesvirus


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infects greater than 90% of humans, is recognized as a significant comorbidity with HIV/AIDS, and is an etiologic agent for some human cancers. The critically endangered mountain gorilla population was suspected of infection with an EBV-like virus based on serology and infant histopathology similar to pulmonary reactive lymphoid hyperplasia (PRLH), a condition associated with EBV in HIV-infected children. To further examine the presence of EBV or an EBV-like virus in mountain gorillas, we conducted the first population-wide survey of oral samples for an EBV-like virus in a nonhuman great ape. We discovered that mountain gorillas are widely infected (n = 143/332) with a specific strain of lymphocryptovirus 1 (GbbLCV-1). Fifty-two percent of infant mountain gorillas were orally shedding GbbLCV-1, suggesting primary infection during this stage of life, similar to what is seen in humans in less developed countries. We then identified GbbLCV-1 in post-mortem infant lung tissues demonstrating histopathological lesions consistent with PRLH, suggesting primary infection with GbbLCV-1 is associated with PRLH in infants. Together, our findings demonstrate that mountain gorilla’s infection with GbbLCV-1 could provide valuable information for human disease in a natural great ape setting and have potential conservation implications in this critically endangered species.

Concepts: Human, Pathology, Primate, Hominidae, Chimpanzee, Gorilla, Epstein-Barr virus, Mountain Gorilla


Background Circulating cell-free Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA is a biomarker for nasopharyngeal carcinoma. We conducted a prospective study to investigate whether EBV DNA in plasma samples would be useful to screen for early nasopharyngeal carcinoma in asymptomatic persons. Methods We analyzed EBV DNA in plasma specimens to screen participants who did not have symptoms of nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Participants with initially positive results were retested approximately 4 weeks later, and those with persistently positive EBV DNA in plasma underwent nasal endoscopic examination and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). Results A total of 20,174 participants underwent screening. EBV DNA was detectable in plasma samples obtained from 1112 participants (5.5%), and 309 (1.5% of all participants and 27.8% of those who initially tested positive) had persistently positive results on the repeated sample. Among these 309 participants, 300 underwent endoscopic examination, and 275 underwent both endoscopic examination and MRI; of these participants, 34 had nasopharyngeal carcinoma. A significantly higher proportion of participants with nasopharyngeal carcinoma that was identified by screening had stage I or II disease than in a historical cohort (71% vs. 20%, P<0.001 by the chi-square test) and had superior 3-year progression-free survival (97% vs. 70%; hazard ratio, 0.10; 95% confidence interval, 0.05 to 0.18). Nine participants declined to undergo further testing, and 1 of them presented with advanced nasopharyngeal carcinoma 32 months after enrollment. Nasopharyngeal carcinoma developed in only 1 participant with negative EBV DNA in plasma samples within 1 year after testing. The sensitivity and specificity of EBV DNA in plasma samples in screening for nasopharyngeal carcinoma were 97.1% and 98.6%, respectively. Conclusions Analysis of EBV DNA in plasma samples was useful in screening for early asymptomatic nasopharyngeal carcinoma. Nasopharyngeal carcinoma was detected significantly earlier and outcomes were better in participants who were identified by screening than in those in a historical cohort. (Funded by the Kadoorie Charitable Foundation and the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong government; number, NCT02063399 .).

Concepts: Cancer, Virus, Positive predictive value, Type I and type II errors, Sensitivity and specificity, Magnetic resonance imaging, Epstein-Barr virus, Nasopharyngeal carcinoma


The common pathogen Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) transforms normal human B cells and can cause cancer. Latent membrane protein 2A (LMP2A) of EBV supports activation and proliferation of infected B cells and is expressed in many types of EBV-associated cancer. It is not clear how latent EBV infection and cancer escape elimination by host immunity, and it is unknown whether LMP2A can influence the interaction of EBV-infected cells with the immune system. We infected primary B cells with EBV deleted for LMP2A, and established lymphoblastoid cell lines (LCLs). We found that CD8+ T cell clones showed higher reactivity against LMP2A-deficient LCLs compared to LCLs infected with complete EBV. We identified several potential mediators of this immunomodulatory effect. In the absence of LMP2A, expression of some EBV latent antigens was elevated, and cell surface expression of MHC class I was marginally increased. LMP2A-deficient LCLs produced lower amounts of IL-10, although this did not directly affect CD8+ T cell recognition. Deletion of LMP2A led to several changes in the cell surface immunophenotype of LCLs. Specifically, the agonistic NKG2D ligands MICA and ULBP4 were increased. Blocking experiments showed that NKG2D activation contributed to LCL recognition by CD8+ T cell clones. Our results demonstrate that LMP2A reduces the reactivity of CD8+ T cells against EBV-infected cells, and we identify several relevant mechanisms.

Concepts: Immune system, Protein, Bacteria, Immunology, Adaptive immune system, Major histocompatibility complex, MHC class I, Epstein-Barr virus


Post-transplantation lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD) of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract is often recognized in transplant recipients. Small bowel recipients are prone to develop GI disease due to the higher incidence of Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) infection and enteritis as a consequence of heavy immunosuppressive regimens. So far treatment has been based on anti-CD20 therapy (Rituximab), modulation of immunosuppression, antiviral therapy (Gancyclovir), and surgery (up to allograft enterectomy if necessary), whereas endoscopy is usually used to perform the diagnosis via biopsy. We report a case of an adult small bowel recipient, who underwent transplantation due to Gardner’s Syndrome 6 years earlier and was EBV positive. A native rectal PTLD was treated using opertive endoscopy combined with antiviral therapy using 4 courses of Rituximab for positive pelvic lymph nodes in addition to reduced immunosuppression. Two years after treatment the recipient is alive and disease-free with a functional graft.

Concepts: AIDS, Immune system, Lymphocyte, Medicine, Virus, Chemotherapy, Organ transplant, Epstein-Barr virus


Purpose Improvement of cure rates for patients treated with allogeneic hematopoietic stem-cell transplantation (HSCT) will require efforts to decrease treatment-related mortality from severe viral infections. Adoptively transferred virus-specific T cells (VSTs) generated from eligible, third-party donors could provide broad antiviral protection to recipients of HSCT as an immediately available off-the-shelf product. Patient and Methods We generated a bank of VSTs that recognized five common viral pathogens: Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), adenovirus (AdV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), BK virus (BKV), and human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6). The VSTs were administered to 38 patients with 45 infections in a phase II clinical trial. Results A single infusion produced a cumulative complete or partial response rate of 92% (95% CI, 78.1% to 98.3%) overall and the following rates by virus: 100% for BKV (n = 16), 94% for CMV (n = 17), 71% for AdV (n = 7), 100% for EBV (n = 2), and 67% for HHV-6 (n = 3). Clinical benefit was achieved in 31 patients treated for one infection and in seven patients treated for multiple coincident infections. Thirteen of 14 patients treated for BKV-associated hemorrhagic cystitis experienced complete resolution of gross hematuria by week 6. Infusions were safe, and only two occurrences of de novo graft-versus host disease (grade 1) were observed. VST tracking by epitope profiling revealed persistence of functional VSTs of third-party origin for up to 12 weeks. Conclusion The use of banked VSTs is a feasible, safe, and effective approach to treat severe and drug-refractory infections after HSCT, including infections from two viruses (BKV and HHV-6) that had never been targeted previously with an off-the-shelf product. Furthermore, the multispecificity of the VSTs ensures extensive antiviral coverage, which facilitates the treatment of patients with multiple infections.

Concepts: Immune system, Virus, Infection, Herpesviridae, Cytomegalovirus, Viruses, Epstein-Barr virus, Herpesviruses


Acute infection with viral pathogens in the herpesviridae family can trigger acute urticaria, and reactivation of herpesviridae is associated with cutaneous urticarial-like syndromes such as DRESS (Drug induced hypersensitivity syndrome/Drug Reaction with Eosinophilia and Systemic Symptoms). Reactivation of latent herpesviridae has not been studied systematically in CIU (Chronic Idiopathic/Spontaneous Urticaria). This review proposes that CIU is an inflammatory disorder with autoimmune features (termed “CVU” for Chronic Viral Urticaria), based on serology consistent with the hypothesis that reactivation of a latent herpes virus or viruses may play a role in CIU. Serology obtained from a cohort of Omalizumab (Xolair)-dependent patients with severe CIU was consistent with previous HHV-6 infection, persistent viral gene expression and replication. CIU patients also exhibited serologic evidence of increased immune response to HHV-4 (Epstein-Barr Virus or EBV) but not all CIU patients were infected with EBV. These observations, combined with case reports of CIU response to anti-viral therapy, suggest that HHV-6, possibly interacting with HHV-4 in cutaneous tissues, is a candidate for further prospective study as a co-factor in CIU. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Concepts: AIDS, Immune system, Inflammation, Bacteria, Virus, Infection, Herpesviridae, Epstein-Barr virus


Lymphoproliferations associated with Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) in adult patients pose a diagnostic challenge for pathologists for several reasons. First, the EBV lymphoproliferations represent a clinically and histologically very broad spectrum ranging from self-limiting lymphoproliferations to manifest malignant lymphomas. Second, the classification of these diseases is not solely based on histopathology but rather requires a synopsis of clinical as well as pathological features. And third, a resource-efficient diagnostic procedure demands a deliberate strategy for selecting the tissue specimens that are to be tested for EBV. We describe how the clinical context and histological features may indicate to histopathologists which lymphatic tissues should be tested for the presence of EBV and how these features guide the classification. We provide recommendations as to which biopsy specimens should be investigated for EBV and which methods for detecting viral association are appropriate.

Concepts: AIDS, Cancer, Biology, Pathology, Anatomical pathology, Histology, Histopathology, Epstein-Barr virus