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Eur J Clin Microbiol Infect Dis. 2014 Apr;33(4):621-7. doi: 10.1007/s10096-013-1996-4. Epub 2013 Oct 30.

Evidence for Borna disease virus infection in neuropsychiatric patients in three western China provinces.

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  • 1Department of Neurology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Chongqing Medical University, No. 1 Youyi Road, Yuzhong District, 400016, Chongqing, People's Republic of China.


Borna disease virus (BDV) is a non-cytolytic, neurotropic RNA virus that can infect a wide variety of vertebrate species from birds and primates to humans. Several studies have been carried out to investigate whether BDV is associated with neuropsychiatric diseases. However, this association is still inconclusive. Two panels of subjects consisting of 1,679 various neuropsychiatric patients and healthy people from three western China provinces were enrolled in this study. BDV p24 or p40 RNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were detected in the first panel of 1,481 subjects using reverse transcription quantitative polymerase chain reaction (RT-qPCR) and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from the BDV RNA-positive individuals were subjected to BDV p24 antibodies testing by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA). BDV p24 or p40 RNA in PBMCs and p24 antibodies in plasma were detected in the second panel of 198 subjects by RT-qPCR and Western blot. A higher prevalence for BDV RNA was demonstrated in patients with viral encephalitis (6.70%), Guillain-Barré syndrome (6.70%), schizophrenia (9.90%) and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) (12.70%) compared to healthy controls in the first panel. CSF p24 antibodies were demonstrated in three viral encephalitis patients, two schizophrenia patients and two major depressive disorder (MDD) patients. The prevalences of p24 antibodies in plasma from patients with viral encephalitis (13.24%), multiple sclerosis (25.00%) and Parkinson's disease (22.73%) were significantly higher than healthy controls. This study demonstrates that BDV infection also exists in humans from three western China provinces, and suggests the involvement of the contribution of BDV in the aetiology of Chinese patients with some neuropsychiatric disorders, including viral encephalitis, schizophrenia, CFS, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease.

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