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August 1987

Affective Disorder and Viral Infections-Reply

Author Affiliations

Clinical Neurogenetics Branch National Institute of Mental Health Room 3N/220 Bldg 10 National Institutes of Health Bethesda, MD 20892

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1987;44(8):760. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1987.01800200088016

Reply.—  Dr Allen and colleagues report that, in their experience, "levels of antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus tend to... vanish, during the suprathymic stage, only to reappear during the depressive phase"; however, the data are not given. It seems doubtful that the "convalescent antibodies" (IgG—Epstein-Barr virus— viral capsid antibodies [IgG—EB-VCA]) will disappear at times, since positive titers of this antibody are present for life once an individual is exposed to the virus. Also, there is some evidence from the literature that impaired immune function is present during depression, and not the reverse,1 as Allen et al suggest. They predict that levels of antibodies during the acute phase of the illness (early antigen antibodies) would be elevated in our patients during the depressed state. However, this was not the case. As we stated in our report,2 there was no correlation of symptoms of depression or mania with anti—EBV-VCA titers.

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