Detection of antibodies against viral capsid proteins of human herpesvirus 8 in AIDS-associated Kaposi's sarcoma

S Andre, O Schatz, J R Bogner, H Zeichhardt, M StofflerMeilicke, H U Jahn, R Ullrich, A K Sonntag, R Kehm, J Haas

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Abstract

Sequences of a new herpesvirus with homology to gammaherpesvirinae were recently identified in AIDS-associated Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). Subsequently this novel virus, called KS-associated virus (KSHV) or human herpesvirus (HHV) 8 was detected in classical KS and AIDS-associated body cavity based lymphomas by polymerase chain reaction, In this report major and minor capsid proteins of HHV-8 were molecularly cloned and produced as recombinant proteins in Escherichia coli. Sera from 69 HIV-1 infected patients with KS, 30 HIV-1 infected patients without KS and 106 control individuals were tested by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay for anti-HHV-8 capsid IgM and IgG antibodies. Sera from four patients were tested over periods ranging from 18 months to 6 years. IgG antibodies directed against HHV-8 capsid antigens were detected in patients with AIDS-associated KS and in some AIDS patients without KS. Seroconversion with IgM and IgG antibodies directed against HHV-8 capsid proteins occurred more than 1 year prior to diagnosis of KS. In a considerable portion of KS patients no IgM or IgG antibodies against HHV-8 capsid proteins were detected. In these patients there was an inverse relationship between antibodies against HHV-8orf26 and the CD4/CD8 ratio, suggesting that the inconsistency of anti-HHV-8orf26 antibodies is due at least partly to an impaired immune response, No reactivity against HHV-8 capsid antigens was detected in the vast majority of sera from HIV-negative control individuals. Our findings indicate that a specific humoral immune response against capsid proteins is raised in HHV-8 infected individuals, and that anti-capsid antibodies can be used to diagnose HHV-8 infection. The correlation between occurrence of anti-HHV-8 antibodies and KS supports the hypothesis of a causative role of HHV-8.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)145-152
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Molecular Medicine
Volume75
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1997

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