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Epstein-Barr virus reactivation associated with diminished cell-mediated immunity in antarctic expeditionersEpstein-Barr virus (EBV) reactivation and cell-mediated immune (CMI) responses were followed in 16 Antarctic expeditioners during winter-over isolation at 2 Australian National Antarctic Research Expedition stations. Delayed-type hypersensitivity (DTH) skin testing was used as an indicator of the CMI response, that was evaluated 2 times before winter isolation and 3 times during isolation. At all 5 evaluation times, 8 or more of the 16 subjects had a diminished CMI response. Diminished DTH was observed on every test occasion in 4/16 subjects; only 2/16 subjects exhibited normal DTH responses for all 5 tests. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was used to detect EBV DNA in saliva specimens collected before, during, and after the winter isolation. EBV DNA was present in 17% (111/642) of the saliva specimens; all 16 subjects shed EBV in their saliva on at least 1 occasion. The probability of EBV shedding increased (P = 0.013) from 6% before or after winter isolation to 13% during the winter period. EBV appeared in saliva during the winter isolation more frequently (P < 0.0005) when DTH response was diminished than when DTH was normal. The findings indicate that the psychosocial, physical, and other stresses associated with working and living in physical isolation during the Antarctic winter result in diminished CMI and an accompanying increased reactivation and shedding of latent viruses.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Mehta, S. K. (Enterprise Advisory Services Inc. Houston, Texas, United States)
Pierson, D. L.
Cooley, H.
Dubow, R.
Lugg, D.
Date Acquired
August 22, 2013
Publication Date
June 1, 2000
Publication Information
Publication: Journal of medical virology
Volume: 61
Issue: 2
ISSN: 0146-6615
Subject Category
Life Sciences (General)
Distribution Limits
NASA Program Biomedical Research and Countermeasures
NASA Discipline Environmental Health