Study Title:

Anti-TNFα therapy for inflammatory bowel diseases is associated with Epstein-Barr virus lytic a

Study Abstract

Anti-TNFα therapy, known to suppress T-cell immunity, is increasingly gaining popularity for treatment of autoimmune diseases including inflammatory bowel diseases (IBD). T-cell suppression increases the risk of B-cell EBV-lymphoproliferative diseases and lymphomas. Since EBV-lytic activation is essential for development of EBV-lymphomas and there have been reports of EBV-lymphomas in patients treated with anti-TNFα therapy, we investigated if patients treated with anti-TNFα antibodies demonstrate greater EBV-lytic activity in blood. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 10 IBD patients solely on anti-TNFα therapy compared to 3 control groups (10 IBD patients not on immunosuppressive therapy, 10 patients with abdominal pain but without IBD, and 10 healthy subjects) were examined for the percentage of T-cells, EBV load and EBV-lytic transcripts. Patients on anti-TNFα therapy had significantly fewer T-cells, greater EBV load, and increased levels of transcripts from EBV-lytic genes of all kinetic classes compared to controls. Furthermore, exposure of EBV-infected B-cell lines to anti-TNFα antibodies resulted in increased levels of BZLF1 mRNA; BZLF1 encodes for ZEBRA, the viral latency-to-lytic cycle switch. Thus, IBD patients treated with anti-TNFα antibodies have greater EBV loads likely due to enhanced EBV-lytic gene expression and anti-TNFα antibodies may be sufficient to activate the EBV lytic cycle. Findings from this pilot study lay the groundwork for additional scientific and clinical investigation into the effects of anti-TNFα therapy on the life cycle of EBV, a ubiquitous oncovirus that causes lymphomas in the setting of immunocompromise. J. Med. Virol. 9999: 1-7, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
© 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
Epstein-Barr virus; anti-TNFα; inflammatory bowel disease; lymphomas; lytic activation

Study Information

Anti-TNFα therapy for inflammatory bowel diseases is associated with Epstein-Barr virus lytic activation
J Med Virol.
2015 August

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