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.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health