Detection of specific lytic and latent transcripts can help to predict the status of Epstein-Barr virus infection in transplant recipients with high virus load
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Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a member of the family Herpesviridae, is widely spread in the human population and has the ability to establish lifelong latent infection. In immunocompetent individuals the virus reactivation is usually harmless and unnoticeable. In immunocompromised patients productive infection or type III latency may lead to EBV-associated post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorder (PTLD). The aim of our research was to investigate the utility of PCR-based methods in the diagnosis and monitoring of EBV infections in bone marrow transplant recipients. Thirty-eight peripheral blood leukocyte samples obtained from 16 patients were analysed, in which EBV DNA was confirmed by PCR. We used semi-quantitative PCR to estimate the viral load and reverse-transcription PCR (RT-PCR) to differentiate between latent and productive EBV infection. In 14 patients we confirmed productive viral infection. We observed a correlation between higher number of EBV genome copies and the presence of transcripts specific for type III latency as well as clinical symptoms.
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