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J Med Virol. 2003 Mar;69(3):397-400.

Polymerase chain reaction as a rapid diagnostic tool for therapy of acute retinal necrosis syndrome.

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Institute of Microbiology and Virology, Spedali-Civili-University of Brescia, Brescia, Italy.


Herpesviruses are involved in the pathogenesis of acute retinal necrosis syndrome (ARN). A rapid and accurate diagnosis of herpetic infections is crucial for prompt administration of a specific antiviral therapy. The purpose of this study was to evaluate a polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based assay to detect herpesvirus DNA in the aqueous humor of clinical samples from ten patients with uveitis and clinical suspicion of ARN. Samples were assayed for herpes simplex virus type 1-2 (HSV 1-2), varicella zoster virus (VZV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV). Clinical suspicion of ARN was confirmed for four patients. Two patients (one with bilateral ARN) tested PCR-positive for VZV DNA and the other two were positive for HSV 1-2 DNA. CMV DNA was not detected in any of the samples, and no sample was positive for DNA from more than one virus. The remaining patients did not show any evidence of herpesvirus DNA in their aqueous samples. Our findings demonstrate that the use of PCR for detecting herpesvirus DNA in aqueous humor of uveitic subjects may be a valuable tool for early diagnosis of acute retinal necrosis syndrome and for timely administration of a suitable therapy.

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