Journal Article

Interferon γ (IFN-γ) Deficiency in Generalized Epstein-Barr Virus Infection with Interstitial Lymphoid and Granulomatous Pneumonia, Focal Cerebral Lesions, and Genital Ulcers: Remission Following IFN-γ Substitution Therapy

Jan Andersson, Bengt Isberg, Birger Christensson, Bela Veress, Annika Linde and Tomas Bratel

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 28, issue 5, pages 1036-1042
Published in print May 1999 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online May 1999 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/514733
Interferon γ (IFN-γ) Deficiency in Generalized Epstein-Barr Virus Infection with Interstitial Lymphoid and Granulomatous Pneumonia, Focal Cerebral Lesions, and Genital Ulcers: Remission Following IFN-γ Substitution Therapy

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A 26-year-old previously healthy woman developed granulomatous pneumonitis, encephalitis, and genital ulceration during primary Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection. EBV DNA was demonstrated by polymerase chain reaction analysis of serum, lung tissue, and genital ulcer specimens. Serology verified primary EBV infection. The patient lacked lymphocytes cytotoxic to autologous EBV-transformed B lymphocytes. No spontaneous or in vitro EBV-induced interferon γ (IFN-γ) production was evident in peripheral blood. The cells had normal IFN-γ production when stimulated with Staphylococcus aureus exotoxin A. In the bone marrow and peripheral blood, the number of large granular CD56+ lymphocytes (natural killer cells) increased 39%–55%, but no CD4 or CD8 cell lymphocytosis was initially found. A partial clinical response was achieved with treatment with acyclovir, corticosteroids, and intravenous γ-globulin. Because of persistent granulomatous central nervous system and lung involvement, subcutaneous IFN-γ therapy was started but was discontinued after 3 months because of development of fever, pancytopenia, and hepatitis. This therapy initiated a complete clinical recovery, which occurred parallel to development of EBV-specific cytotoxic CD8+ T lymphocytes and normalization of natural killer cell lymphocytosis. These findings provide evidence for an EBV-induced lymphoproliferative disorder due to a T lymphocyte dysfunction associated with a selective lack of IFN-γ synthesis.

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Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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