J Asthma Allergy Clin Immunol.  2002 Dec;22(4):679-684.

Relationship between total IgE and Epstein Barr virus infection during infancy and early childhood

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, Pundang CHA General Hospital, Pochon Cha University, College of Medicine, Sungnam, Korea.


BACKGROUND: The 'hygiene hypothesis', the apparent inverse relationship between certain childhood infections and the subsequent development of asthma and atopy, has been gaining attention and is currently now considered one of the most plausible explanations for the cause of asthma and atopy currently.
We tried to evaluate the relationship between Epstein Barr virus infection in infancy and early childhood with total IgE, the hallmark of atopy. with these results, we observed the changing pattern of total IgE levels according to the ages that EBV infection occured.
The study population, a total of 75 patients were divided by age: under 2 years of age, under 3 years of age, under 4 years of age and then they were divided into the two groups : EBNA negative and EBNA positive groups. EBNA and IgE were measured by ELISA and CLA respectively. We analyzed the relationships between age, sex, family history, atopic predisposition, total eosinophils, log IgE, and positivity of EBNA stastically.
Prevalence of EBNA positivity was 26% in children 1-3 years of age. Among the six variables, log IgE showed statistically significant difference in the two groups under 2 years of age and under 3 years of age. In the group of under 2 years of age, mean log IgE in EBNA positive group was 0.7 IU/mL and EBNA negative group was 1.3 IU/mL, these differences were significant statistically (p<0.05). In the group of under 3 years of age , mean log IgE in EBNA positive group was 0.8 IU/mL and EBNA negative group was 1.5 IU/mL, these differences were statistically significant(p<0.05).
This study showed that Ebstein Barr virus infection before 3 years of age is associated with lower log IgE. This means that there is a possibility of a negative influence in the prevalence of allergic disease by EBV infection in children before 3 years of age.


Epstein Barr virus; IgE; Hygiene hypothesis

MeSH Terms

Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
Epstein-Barr Virus Infections
Herpesvirus 4, Human*
Hygiene Hypothesis
Immunoglobulin E*
Immunoglobulin E
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