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J Virol Methods. 2003 May;109(2):253-9.

A comparison of in situ hybridisation, reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) and in situ-RT-PCR for the detection of canine distemper virus RNA in Paget's disease.

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Laboratory Medicine Academic Group, University of Manchester, Stopford Building, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PT, UK.


Previous evidence implicating Paramyxoviruses in the aetiopathology of Paget's disease of bone has proved controversial. Whilst several groups have demonstrated Paramyxoviruses using techniques such as in situ hybridisation (ISH), reverse transcriptase-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR), and in situ-RT-PCR (IS-RT-PCR), others have found no evidence of viruses using only RT-PCR. To investigate this latter finding, we have now compared detection of canine distemper virus by ISH, RT-PCR (three different methods) and IS-RT-PCR, in 10 patients with Paget's disease, and samples of non-diseased bone from four patients. Canine distemper virus was detectable in six of the samples by ISH, but only in five of the samples by RT-PCR, using one of the methods. Neither of the other RT-PCR methods detected canine distemper virus. IS-RT-PCR demonstrated canine distemper virus in all 10 samples. There was no evidence of virus in the control samples. We have shown that the ability to detect canine distemper virus in bone is dependent on the technique used. IS-RT-PCR clearly showed that canine distemper virus was present in 100% of Pagetic samples, whereas canine distemper virus was only found in 60% by ISH and in 50% using one particular RT-PCR method. These results provide conclusive evidence that canine distemper virus is present within Pagetic bone, and provide a possible explanation for the failure of some groups to detect Paramyxovirus sequences. These findings also have wider implications for other studies investigating viral expression.

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