Stress and the Memory T-Cell Response to the Epstein-Barr Virus in Healthy Medical Students

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Abstract

This study investigated the memory T-cell proliferative response to several early and late Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) polypeptides. Blood samples were collected twice, 1 month before a 3-day block of examinations and again on the last day of the exam series. Ss were 25 healthy, EBV seropositive medical students. The proliferative response to 5 of the 6 EBV polypeptides significantly decreased during examinations. In addition, Ss high (above the median) in seeking support, as measured by the COPE, had lower proliferative responses to 3 EBV polypeptides (p17, p52/50, and p85), as well as higher levels of antibody to EBV virus capsid antigen. The data provide further evidence that psychological stress can modulate the cellular immune response to latent EBV.

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