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Arch Dermatol. 2000 Dec;136(12):1518-22.

Antibodies to molluscum contagiosum virus in the general population and susceptible patients.

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Dermatology Branch, Bldg 10, Room 12N238, National Cancer Institute, 10 Center Dr, MSC1908, Bethesda, MD 20892-1908 USA.



Since many attempts to cultivate molluscum contagiosum virus (MCV) in vitro have been unsuccessful, it is difficult to prepare a large quantity of antigens. To assess the seroprevalence of antibodies against MCV in 508 subjects with or without clinical MCV infection, a truncated recombinant protein from open-reading frame MC133L was synthesized using Sendai virus expression system and applied to enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay as an antigen.


Antibodies to MCV were present in 7 (58%) of 12 patients with molluscum contagiosum, 7 (6%) of 108 healthy controls, 7 (9%) of 76 with atopic dermatitis, and 7 (18%) of 39 patients with systemic lupus erythematosus, although no clinical MCV infection was observed in the latter 3 groups. Of 7 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive patients with molluscum contagiosum, 1 (14%) was antibody positive, compared with 5 (2%) of 266 HIV-positive patients without molluscum contagiosum. Serum samples from patients with atopic dermatitis and systemic lupus erythematosus showed a higher reactivity (P<.001) than those from healthy controls, while serum samples from HIV-positive subjects showed a lower reactivity (P<. 001).


The humoral immune response to MCV is usually confined to patients with molluscum contagiosum and may be affected by the immunological condition of the host.

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