Epstein-Barr virus antibodies in whole blood spots: a minimally invasive method for assessing an aspect of cell-mediated immunity.
OBJECTIVE: Study 1: Introduce and validate a method for measuring EBV p18-VCA antibodies in whole blood spots to provide a minimally invasive marker of cell-mediated immune function. Study 2: Apply this method to a large community-based study of psychopathology in children and adolescents. METHODS: The EBV antibody method was evaluated through analysis of precision, reliability, stability, and comparisons with plasma and indirect immunofluorescence methods. The effects of life events on p18-VCA antibody level were considered in a subsample of 9, 11, and 13 year-old children participating in the Great Smoky Mountains Study in North Carolina. The subsample was stratified by age, sex, and degree of overall life strain. RESULTS: Dried blood spots provided a convenient, sensitive, precise, and reliable method for measuring EBV p18-VCA antibody titer. Life events were positively associated with p18-VCA antibodies in girls but not in boys. CONCLUSIONS: The validity of the blood spot EBV p18-VCA antibody assay, as well as the ease of sample collection, storage, and transportation, may provide an opportunity for psychoneuroimmunology to explore a wider range of stress models in larger, community-based studies.
McDade, TW; Stallings, JF; Angold, A; Costello, EJ; Burleson, M; Cacioppo, JT; Glaser, R; Worthman, CM
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