Background: Ebola virus (EBOV) disease has killed thousands of West and Central Africans over the past several decades. Many who survive the acute disease later experience post-Ebola syndrome, a constellation of symptoms whose causative pathogenesis is unclear.
Methods: We investigated EBOV-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T-cell responses in 37 Sierra Leonean EBOV disease survivors with (n = 19) or without (n = 18) sequelae of arthralgia and ocular symptoms. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells were infected with recombinant vesicular stomatitis virus encoding EBOV antigens. We also studied the presence of EBOV-specific immunoglobulin G, antinuclear antibodies, anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibodies, rheumatoid factor, complement levels, and cytokine levels in these 2 groups.
Results: Survivors with sequelae had a significantly higher EBOV-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T-cell response. No differences in EBOV-specific immunoglobulin G, antinuclear antibody, or anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide antibody levels were found. Survivors with sequelae showed significantly higher rheumatoid factor levels.
Conclusion: EBOV-specific CD8+ and CD4+ T-cell responses were significantly higher in Ebola survivors with post-Ebola syndrome. These findings suggest that pathogenesis may occur as an immune-mediated disease via virus-specific T-cell immune response or that persistent antigen exposure leads to increased and sustained T-cell responses.
Keywords: Ebola virus; T-cell response; post-Ebola sequelae.
© The Author(s) 2020. Published by Oxford University Press for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved. For permissions, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.