Predictive value of epstein-barr virus genome copy number and BZLF1 expression in blood lymphocytes of transplant recipients at risk for lymphoproliferative disease

Pietro Vajro, Stefania Lucariello, Fiorella Migliaro, Etienne Sokal, Bruno Gridelli, Angela Vegnente, Raffaele Iorio, Françoise Smets, Ileana Quinto, Giuseppe Scala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) genome numbers and RNA transcripts from the immediate-early EBV gene BZLF1 were monitored by means of polymerase chain reaction in peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) of 44 children who received liver transplants. The 2 tests were compared, using several parameters to assess their value as predictors of posttransplantation lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD). All patients were infected with EBV. BZLF1 mRNA was positive in 70% of patients, with highest expression in those with largest virus load. Four patients developed PTLD that could not be unequivocally diagnosed by any of the parameters considered alone. Sensitivity of EBV genome number (≥40,000 EBV copies/105 PBLs) and BZLF1 mRNA (BZLF1: glyceraldehyde-3- phosphate-dehydrogenase ratio ≥0.5) was 100%. Specificity of each of the 2 tests alone (98% and 58%, respectively) improved (to 100% and 83%, respectively) when measurement of serum IgG level was included. Because decreased virus load, but not BZLF1 mRNA expression, accurately predicted favorable responses of PTLD to therapy, monitoring of EBV genome numbers alone appears sufficient in children with liver transplants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2050-2054
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Volume181
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Immunology

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