Quantification of Epstein-Barr Virus DNA Is Helpful for Evaluation of Chronic Active Epstein-Barr Virus Infection




    • SAKAMOTO Yuichi
    • Department of Laboratory Medicine, Aomori Prefectural Central Hospital
    • MARIYA Yasushi
    • Department of Laboratory Medicine, Aomori Prefectural Central Hospital
    • KUBO Kohmei
    • Department of Hematology, Aomori Prefectural Central Hospital


Chronic active Epstein-Barr virus infection (CAEBV) presents with chronic or recurrent infectious mononucleosis-like symptoms, such as low-grade fever, liver dysfunction, lymphadenopathy, and hepatosplenomegaly. Immunological methods are useful for the diagnosis of viral infections. However, CAEBV patients do not necessarily have high titers of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific antibodies. Hosts that are immunocompromised after hematopoietic stem cell transplantations sometimes suffer from systemic EBV-associated hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (EBV-HLH) and EBV-positive lymphoma. Patients with EBV-associated diseases are often diagnosed by analyses of bone marrow. Cytomegalovirus (CMV) can cause serious pneumonia or retinitis in immunocompromised hosts. In order to noninvasively understand the clinical status of patients with EBV-associated diseases, we conducted real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) methods in their peripheral blood in order to quantify EBV and CMV DNA levels, which reflect viral activity. Here, we describe a 30-year-old Japanese female patient with CAEBV. The patient had repeated fever, fatigue, and liver dysfunction. The histopathological results of liver biopsies were positive for EBV-encoded RNA-1. Acute hepatitis was associated with the EBV infection. The whole-blood EBV DNA levels were high and above 1.0 × 10<sup>7</sup> copies/mL. After immunosuppressive and antiviral therapies, EBV DNA levels lowered. However, she had to receive bone marrow transplantation because of her EBV-HLH. As the number of lymphocytes increased in the post-transplantation period, EBV DNA levels gradually increased again. The simultaneous detection of CMV DNA was more sensitive than the CMV antigenemia test that is often used to diagnose CMV infections. Unfortunately, the patient died due to a fungal infection. Observing EBV DNA levels closely with real-time quantitative PCR methods is helpful for evaluating the changes in the clinical course.


  • Tohoku journal of experimental medicine

    Tohoku journal of experimental medicine 227(4), 307-311, 2012-08-01

    Tohoku University Medical Press

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