Epstein-Barr Virus Type 2 Infects T Cells in Healthy Kenyan Children.

Academic Article


  • BACKGROUND: The 2 strains of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), EBV type 1 (EBV-1) and EBV-2, differ in latency genes, suggesting that they use distinct mechanisms to establish latency. We previously reported that EBV-2 infects T cells in vitro. In this study, we tested the possibility that EBV-2 infects T cells in vivo. METHODS: Purified T-cell fractions isolated from children positive for EBV-1 or EBV-2 and their mothers were examined for the presence of EBV and for EBV type. RESULTS: We detected EBV-2 in all T-cell samples obtained from EBV-2-infected children at 12 months of age, with some children retaining EBV-2-positive T cells through 24 months of age, suggesting that EBV-2 persists in T cells. We were unable to detect EBV-2 in T-cell samples from mothers but could detect EBV-2 in samples of their breast milk and saliva. CONCLUSIONS: These data suggest that EBV-2 uses T cells as an additional latency reservoir but that, over time, the frequency of infected T cells may drop below detectable levels. Alternatively, EBV-2 may establish a prolonged transient infection in the T-cell compartment. Collectively, these novel findings demonstrate that EBV-2 infects T cells in vivo and suggest EBV-2 may use the T-cell compartment to establish latency.
  • Published In


  • Burkitt lymphoma, Epstein-Barr virus, T lymphocytes, cellular tropism, Child, Preschool, Cohort Studies, DNA, Viral, Epstein-Barr Virus Infections, Female, Herpesvirus 4, Human, Humans, Infant, Kenya, Male, Milk, Human, Prevalence, Saliva, Specimen Handling, T-Lymphocytes, Virus Latency
  • Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Pubmed Id

  • 12435869
  • Author List

  • Coleman CB; Daud II; Ogolla SO; Ritchie JA; Smith NA; Sumba PO; Dent AE; Rochford R
  • Start Page

  • 670
  • End Page

  • 677
  • Volume

  • 216
  • Issue

  • 6