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Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases

Print version ISSN 1413-8670


FELLNER, María Dolores et al. Duplex realtime PCR method for Epstein-Barr virus and human DNA quantification: its application for post-transplant lymphoproliferative disorders detection. Braz J Infect Dis [online]. 2014, vol.18, n.3, pp.271-280. ISSN 1413-8670.


The quantification of circulating Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) DNA is used to monitor transplant patients as an early marker of Post-Transplant Lymphoproliferative Disorders (PTLD). So far no standardized methodology exists for such determination.


Our purpose was to develop and validate a real-time PCR assay to quantify EBV DNA in clinical samples from transplant recipients.


A duplex real-time PCR method was developed to amplify DNA from EBV and from a human gene. The EBV load was determined in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), plasma and oropharyngeal tissue from 64 non-transplanted patients with lymphoid-hypertrophy (Non-Tx), 47 transplant recipients without PTLD (Tx), 54 recipients with PTLD (Tx-PTLD), and 66 blood donors (BD). WinPEPI, version 11.14 software was used for statistical analysis.


Analytical validation: the intra and inter-assays variation coefficients were less than 4.5% (EBV-reaction) and 3% (glyceraldehyde 3-phosphate dehydrogenase - GAPDH reaction). Linear ranges comprised 107-10 EBV genome equivalents (gEq) (EBV-reaction) and 500,000-32 human gEq (GAPDH-reaction). The detection limit was 2.9 EBV gEq (EBV-reaction). Both reactions showed specificity. Application to clinical samples: higher levels of EBV were found in oropharyngeal tissue from transplanted groups with and without PTLD, compared to Non-Tx (p < 0.05). The EBV load in PBMC from the groups of BD, Non-Tx, Tx and Tx-PTLD exhibited increasing levels (p < 0.05). In BD, PBMC and plasma, EBV loads were undetectable.


The performance of the assay was suitable for the required clinical application. The assay may be useful to monitor EBV infection in transplant patients, in particular in laboratories from low-income regions that cannot afford to use commercial assays.

Keywords : EBV; real-time PCR; viral load; PTLD.

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