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Histopathology. 1994 Mar;24(3):257-64.

Autopsy findings in two cases of neonatal herpes simplex virus infection: detection of virus by immunohistochemistry, in situ hybridization and the polymerase chain reaction.

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  • 1Department of Neuropathology, Southern General Hospital, Glasgow, UK.


We describe the pathological findings in two fatal cases of neonatal infection with herpes simplex virus. One had an encephalitis caused by herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2); the other had a disseminated infection with herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Confirmation of the diagnosis was obtained by use of the polymerase chain reaction to amplify viral DNA from paraffin sections of autopsy tissues. By using primers which amplify fragments of the HSV-1 thymidine kinase gene and HSV-2 glycoprotein gene respectively it was possible to discriminate between infection with HSV-1 and HSV-2. In contrast, immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization using commercially available reagents did not distinguish between HSV-1 and HSV-2 infection. However, immunohistochemistry and in situ hybridization are probably more reliable than the polymerase chain reaction for assessment of the distribution of virus in different tissues.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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