Quantitative Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) serology in lung transplant recipients with primary EBV infection and/or post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease

Erik Verschuuren, Wim van der Bij, Wim de Boer, Wim Timens, Jaap Middeldorp, T Hauw The

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The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific antibody response was studied in lung transplant patients to assess their value in the diagnosis and prognosis of post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease. Recently developed synthetic peptides representing Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA-1), diffuse early antigen (EA(D)), and virus capsid antigen (VCA) were studied in a semiquantitative enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) to study antibody patterns in 12 seronegative lung transplant patients, of whom four developed a post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease, and seven seropositive lung transplant patients, all of whom developed a post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease. Immunoblot technique was used as a control. All 12 EBV-seronegative patients had a very limited antibody response that was restricted mainly to VCA antibodies. EA(D) antibodies became detectable in only two patients. Antibody response never preceded clinical diagnosis of post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease in the four EBV-seronegative patients who developed post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease. In the seven seropositive lung transplant patients with post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease, we found a rise in antibody titer in only two patients. Immunoblot analysis confirmed the serological results. In conclusion, EBV-specific antibody patterns after lung transplantation are highly restricted and variable and of limited value for the diagnosis or prognosis of post-transplant lymphoproliferative disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)258-66
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Medical Virology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2003


  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Child
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human
  • Humans
  • Immunoblotting
  • Journal Article
  • Lung Transplantation
  • Lymphoproliferative Disorders
  • Male
  • Middle Aged

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