Epstein-Barr virus

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Epstein-Barr virus

Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), herpesvirus that is the major cause of infectious mononucleosis and is associated with a number of cancers, particularly lymphomas in immunosuppressed persons, including persons with AIDS. Epstein-Barr is a ubiquitous virus, so common that it has been difficult to determine whether it is the cause of certain diseases or whether it is simply there as an artifact. In Third World nations, most children are infected with EBV; in most industrialized nations, about 50% of the people are infected. Research has found that all of the lymphomas associated with AIDS and most lymphomas in other immunocompromised persons are connected with latent EBV infection. EBV has been found in biopsy tissue of patients with Hodgkin's disease, breast cancer, and some smooth muscle tumors. EBV also was formerly suspected as the cause of chronic fatigue syndrome (originally named chronic EBV syndrome).
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Epstein-Barr virus

An antigenically distinct member of the herpesvirus group of viruses, whose genome is DNA. EB virus is the cause of one benign disease (infectious mononucleosis), and is associated with certain types of cancer; however, the great majority of EB virus infections are clinically inapparent. The virus was detected initially by electron microscopy in a small proportion of cells in continuous lymphoblastoid cell lines derived from Burkitt's lymphoma (but particles have not been seen in cells of the tumor itself). The virus also has been detected in cell lines derived from nasopharyngeal carcinomas, a type of cancer found with high frequency in persons from southern China. The virus is found in peripheral blood leukocytes from normal individuals and from patients with infectious mononucleosis. See Infectious mononucleosis, Lymphoma

If EB virus is indeed confirmed as having a role in the development of human malignancies, then one major question to be resolved is how a virus so ubiquitous can be involved in so wide a variety of responses. However, it should be recalled that many virus infections (for example, polio virus, hepatitis viruses, certain of the arboviral encephalitides) have a wide spectrum of outcomes, ranging from inapparent infection to severe syndromes. See Animal virus

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Bioscience. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Epstein-Barr virus

[¦ep·stīn ¦bär ‚vī·rəs]
(virology)
Herpeslike virus particles first identified in cultures of cells from Burkett's malignant lymphoma.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.