Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) & Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS)

The etiology of chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) is unknown. Some
patients have high antibody titers to viral capsid antigen
(VCA) and early antigen (EA) of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV),
suggesting that reactivation of EBV is involved. We
investigated virus load (spontaneous transformation) and
immunologic regression of EBV-induced transformation in
peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 10 selected
patients with CFS who had high antibody titers to VCA and EA.
The outcome was compared with that for nine healthy controls
and one patient with severe chronic active EBV infection

There were no significant differences in viral load
between patients and healthy controls. Immunologic regression
of in vitro-transformed PBMCs was also equally efficient in
patients and controls. The SCAEBV-infected patient and two
controls, who were all seronegative for EBV, showed impaired
regression. In conclusion, we were unable to demonstrate a
role for reactivation of EBV in CFS, even in selected patients
with high titers of antibody to VCA and EA of EBV.

Swanink CM, van der Meer JW, Vercoulen JH, Bleijenberg G, Fennis JF,
Galama JM

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