Depression link to virus reactivation

THE stress of maternal depression  may lead to Epstein-Barr virus reactivation, researchers suggest.

Prompted by evidence suggesting a link between Epstein-Barr virus reactivation and chronic stress, US researchers analysed 200 serum samples from a cohort of pregnant women to detect Epstein-Barr virus antibodies.

The prevalence of virus reactivation in 100 pregnant women with depression diagnosed pre-pregnancy was compared with a group of 100 healthy women not known to be depressed.

Women with depression were more likely to have Epstein-Barr virus reactivation (48% vs 30%), even when adjusted for age and BMI, they found.

“We found a direct association between maternal depression and Epstein-Barr virus reactivation among women undergoing first-trimester genetic screening,” the researchers said.

Clinical studies have demonstrated stress-related Epstein-Barr virus reactivation in other populations, they said.