The Epstein-Barr virus has a seroprevalence of more than 80% world wide and is known to be associated with Hepatitis.
However, little is known about the underlying pathogenesis and immune mechanisms.
There are no standard diagnostic criteria to diagnose Epstein-Barr virus-Hepatitis.
Dr Uta Drebber and colleagues from Germany collected 21 liver biopsies with the tentative diagnosis of Epstein-Barr virus induced Hepatitis.
The diagnosis was made according to pathological changes and traceable Epstein-Barr virus genome by polymerase chain reaction.
Correlation with serological data revealed acute in 7 cases, convalescent in 2 cases, and past Epstein-Barr virus infection in 6 cases.
|CD8 positive T-lymphocyte infiltrates the tissues in Epstein-Barr virus Hepatitis|
|Journal of Hepatology|
The research team visualized viral RNA in situ hybridization in the nuclei of lymphocytes.
The researchers diagnosed 7 of 68 liver biopsies as ‘liver disease of unknown etiology'.
The team demonstrated the Epstein-Barr virus genome in tissue.
This finding indicates a possible role for Epstein-Barr virus in the induction of hepatitis or a trapping of infected lymphocytes within the liver.
The research team also included a control group of 20 Epstein-Barr virus-seropositive patients with steatohepatitis.
The team noted that in the controls, Epstein-Barr virus-DNA polymerase chain reaction of the liver tissue was negative.
Immunohistochemistry identified CD3 and CD8 positive T-lymphocytes as the main lymphocytic infiltrate in Epstein-Barr virus Hepatitis.
Dr Drebber's team concluded, “Epstein-Barr virus Hepatitis should be taken into consideration in cases of typical histopathological changes and a positive DNA polymerase chain reaction of liver biopsy.”
“Serological confirmation of the diagnosis is inevitable.”