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Characteristics of Virology and Immune Inflammation of Epstein-Barr Virus Infection Related Non-Neoplastic Diseases in Children by Qin Wang, Zhi Duan, Wanlu Duan, Mengqi Ruan, Yunyun Zhang, Hao Zhang, Qiang Zhou

Background: The goal was to study the difference of virological, immunologic, and inflammatory indicators between Epstein-Barr associated infectious mononucleosis (EBV-IM) and EBV associated hemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (EBV-HLH) and to explore the evaluation indicators for monitoring the therapeutic efficacy of EBV-HLH.
Methods: Twenty children with EBV-IM (IM group) and 10 children with EBV-HLH (HLH group) were selected. Virology indicators were detected; the absolute count of lymphocyte, and lymphocyte subsets were detected; the levels of immunoglobulin and ferritin were assayed.
Results: Compared to the IM group, the HLH group showed a decrease in EBV-specific VCA-IgM antibody levels (U = 29.0, p = 0.006) and an increase in EBV-specific NA-IgG antibody levels (U = 17.0, p = 0.001), while there was no significant difference in EB-DNA loads (t = 0.417, p = 0.680). The counts of lymphocytes, and various lymphocyte subsets in the HLH group were lower than those in the IM group. Inflammatory markers in the HLH group were significantly higher than those in IM group. Dynamic monitoring of virological, immunological, and inflammatory indicators in HLH patients during treatment showed that EBV DNA gradually decreased in patients with good prognosis. Inflammatory indicators significantly decreased and returned to normal, lymphocyte count significantly increased and returned to normal during treatment. However, patients with poor prognosis showed rebound increase in EBV DNA and inflammatory indicators in the later stage of treatment, while lymphocyte count further decreased with the recurrence of the disease.
Conclusions: Exhausted and damaged immune function in host by persistent stimulation of EB viral antigen is one of the main pathogeneses of EB-HLH. Lymphocyte count and serum ferritin level are effective indicators to monitor the therapeutic efficacy during the treatment to HLH.

DOI: 10.7754/Clin.Lab.2023.231109