Bruce Baranski, MD; Gary Armstrong, BSMT; John T. Truman, MD; Gerald V. Quinnan Jr, MD; Stephen E. Straus, MD; Neal S. Young, MD
Study Objective: To determine whether Epstein-Barr virus is present in the bone marrow of patients with aplastic anemia.
Design: Assay of fresh and fixed bone marrow specimens for Epstein-Barr virus using immunofluorescence for nuclear antigen, Southern analysis with an Epstein-Barr virus specific probe, and in-situ hybridization.
Setting: Governmental medical referral center.
Patients: Five patients were studied prospectively: three who previously had infectious mononucleosis, one with a recent viral pneumonitis, and one who was asymptomatic. Stored DNA samples from other patients with aplastic anemia were also screened.
Measurements and Main Results: Epstein-Barr virus DNA and protein were detected in the bone marrow of 5 patients studied prospectively and in 1 of 40 patients studied retrospectively. As estimated by in-situ hybridization, about 3% to 5% of marrow cells were infected with virus in those patients who had not received acyclovir. In contrast, Epstein-Barr virus DNA was not detected in peripheral blood DNA of these patients, nor were Epstein-Barr virus proteins or DNA found in the bone marrow of normal donors, patients with other hematologic diseases, or in 1 patient with acute infectious mononucleosis. Analysis of DNA fragments by hybridization with Epstein-Barr virus probes showed a pattern dissimilar to the type of Epstein-Barr virus usually associated with infectious mononucleosis.
Conclusions: Aplastic anemia may be associated with Epstein-Barr virus more commonly than suspected by history. Localization of the virus in the bone marrow supports a causative role for Epstein-Barr virus in bone marrow failure.
Baranski B, Armstrong G, Truman JT, et al. Epstein-Barr Virus in the Bone Marrow of Patients with Aplastic Anemia. Ann Intern Med. 1988;109:695–704. doi: https://doi.org/10.7326/0003-4819-109-9-695
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Published: Ann Intern Med. 1988;109(9):695-704.
Hematology/Oncology, Infectious Disease, Red Cell Disorders.
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