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Am J Ophthalmol. 1995 Jan;119(1):7-13.

Screening corneas for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 proviral DNA by polymerase chain reaction.

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  • 1Department of Ophthalmology and Visual Science, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, Missouri 63110.



We evaluated the sensitivity of the polymerase chain reaction as a technique to directly screen potential donor corneas for human immunodeficiency virus type 1 (HIV-1) proviral DNA.


DNA from the central 8.0-mm cornea, limbal cornea, aqueous humor, and retina from 22 eyes of 11 cadavers seropositive for HIV was extracted and amplified by polymerase chain reaction using primers specific for the gag and env regions of the HIV-1 genome. The identity of amplification products was confirmed by Southern blot hybridization.


Viral DNA was detected in four (18.2%) of 22 central corneas, one (4.5%) of 22 limbal corneas, one (6.3%) of 16 aqueous humor samples, and seven (31.8%) of 22 retinas. No correlation was noted between the presence of HIV-1 proviral DNA in samples from the central cornea and from the other tissues tested from the same eye.


Within the limits of our assay, processing and analysis of limbal cornea, aqueous humor, and retina by polymerase chain reaction may not reliably ascertain the presence of HIV-1 in the central, transplantable cornea.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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