Detection of Epstein-Barr virus genomes in normal human lacrimal glands

C. A. Crouse, S. C. Pflugfelder, T. Cleary, S. M. Demick, S. S. Atherton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been implicated in several ocular diseases; however, detection of the EBV genome in ocular tissue has not been documented. We report the detection of amplified EBV genomic sequences in 11 of 26 normal lacrimal gland DNA samples by using the polymerase chain reaction. Serum was available for 19 of the lacrimal gland donors. All 19 were EBV seropositive, although of the 19 lacrimal gland-seropositive patients, EBV sequences were detected in only 10 of the samples. Further, amplified EBV sequences were not detected in circulating lymphocyte DNA from normal seropositive volunteers, most likely because of the low frequency of circulating EBV-infected B cells. Amplification of EBV from cadaver lacrimal gland DNA was possible with minute quantities of DNA, whereas peripheral blood mononuclear cell DNA from normal volunteers did not amplify EBV sequences. Interestingly, the peripheral blood mononuclear cell polymerase chain reactions contained approximately 100 times more DNA than the lacrimal gland polymerase chain reactions. We conclude that the lacrimal gland may be a site for EBV persistence and that positive EBV serology is not an indicator of which individuals may have EBV harbored within their lacrimal glands.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1026-1032
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1990

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)


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