What is the pathophysiology of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infectious mononucleosis (mono)?

Updated: Sep 20, 2018
  • Author: Burke A Cunha, MD; Chief Editor: Michael Stuart Bronze, MD  more...
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Answer

Circulating B cells spread the infection throughout the entire reticular endothelial system (RES), ie, liver, spleen, and peripheral lymph nodes. EBV infection of B lymphocytes results in a humoral and cellular response to the virus. The humoral immune response directed against EBV structural proteins is the basis for the test used to diagnose EBV infectious mononucleosis. However, the T-lymphocyte response is essential in the control of EBV infection; natural killer (NK) cells and predominantly CD8+ cytotoxic T cells control proliferating B lymphocytes infected with EBV.


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