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The Influence of Epstein-Barr Virus Reactivation in Patients with Graves’ Disease *

In Graves' disease, the IgG class autoantibody against thyrotropin receptor (TRAb) is produced excessively and induces hyperthyroidism. Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is one of the human herpesviruses that persists for life, mainly in B lymphocytes, and is occasionally reactivated. Therefore, EBV may affect the antibody production of B lymphocytes that would normally produce TRAb. The purpose of the present study was to evaluate the association of EBV reactivation with the etiology of Graves' disease. Serum levels of EBV antibodies and IgE were determined by ELISA. TRAb levels were determined by radioreceptor assay. We performed in-situ hybridization (ISH) of EBV-encoded small RNA (EBER)1 on the thyroid tissue of one of our patients. In Graves' disease patients with TRAb levels ≥10%, EA antibody levels, which indicate EBV reactivation, were moderately but significantly correlated with the levels of TRAb, and weakly but significantly correlated with IgE. EBER1-ISH revealed that one of our patients had EBV-infected lymphocytes infiltrating the thyroid gland. EBV reactivation may stimulate antibody-producing B lymphocytes predisposed to make TRAb, and this may contribute to or exacerbate the disease.

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As with any procedure, there could be pain or other substantial risks involved. These concerns should be discussed with your health care provider prior to any treatment so that you have proper informed consent and understand that there are no guarantees to healing.

THE INFORMATION IN THIS WEBSITE IS OFFERED FOR GENERAL EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY AND DOES NOT IMPLY OR GIVE MEDICAL ADVICE. No Doctor/Patient relationship shall be deemed to have arisen simply by reading the information contained on these pages, and you should consult with your personal physician/care giver regarding your medical treatment before undergoing any sort of treatment or therapy.

Published on 08-26-2011
Authors: Keiko Nagata, Shuji Fukata, Kyosuke Kanai, Yukio Satoh, Takaya Segawa, Satoshi Kuwamoto, Hirotsugu Sugihara, Masako Kato, Ichiro Murakami, Kazuhiko Hayashi and Takeshi Sairenji
Source: Viral Immunology. April 2011, 24(2): 143-149. doi:10.1089/vim.2010.0072