Epstein–Barr virus, rapamycin, and host immune responses

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Abstract

Purpose of review

To summarize recent advances that contribute to our understanding of the pathobiology of Epstein–Barr virus (EBV)-associated posttransplant lymphoproliferative disease (PTLD), the host immune response to virally infected B cells, and the molecular basis for the effects of mammalian target of rapamycin inhibitors on EBV+ B-cell lymphomas.

Recent findings

Cytogenetic and genomic analyses support the concept that the underlying biology of EBV-associated PTLD is complex. Transplant recipients can generate and maintain significant populations of EBV-specific CD8+ memory T cells but the function of these cells may be impaired. EBV invokes multiple strategies to subvert and evade the host immune response. The phosphoinositide-3 kinase/Akt/mammalian target of rapamycin signal transduction pathway is a nexus for growth and survival signals in PTLD-associated EBV+ B-cell lymphomas.

Summary

Multiple factors influence the development of EBV-associated PTLD including the host immune response to EBV, virally induced effects on the infected cell and the host immune system, and the type and intensity of immunosuppression.

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