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Latent Herpesviruses of Humans

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Dr. Miller's discussion was presented in part as a State-of-the-Art Lecture titled "Epstein-Barr Virus and the New Biology" on 21 April 1982 at the Annual Session of the American College of Physicians, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

▸Requests for reprints should be addressed to M. Colin Jordan, M.D.; Veterans Administration Medical Center (11 1F), 150 Muir Road; Martinez, CA 94553.

Martinez, Sacramento, and Los Angeles, California; and New Haven, Connecticut

© 1984 American College of PhysiciansAmerican College of Physicians

Ann Intern Med. 1984;100(6):866-880. doi:10.7326/0003-4819-100-6-866
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The herpesviruses that infect humans characteristically establish a latent infection that may be reactivated later. The consequences of reactivation range from asymptomatic shedding to severe disseminated infection. Varicella-zoster and herpes simplex viruses are both highly neurotropic, establishing nonreplicating infections in sensory ganglia. Latent herpes simplex virus is known to reside in neurons, and the virus-cell interactions involved have been defined to an extent. Cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr virus interact with peripheral blood leukocytes. Latent cytomegalovirus infection of human leukocytes has not been proved, although studies in a murine model have implicated B lymphocytes as a repository of latent virus. Epstein-Barr virus is known to persist in a non-replicating state as extrachromosomal DNA in B lymphocytes and to cause "immortalization" of the infected cell; persistence of the viral genome in epithelial cells may also result in malignant transformation, such as nasopharyngeal carcinoma.





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