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J Infect Dis. 2003 May 1;187(9):1377-87. Epub 2003 Apr 9.

High frequency of human herpesvirus 6 DNA in multiple sclerosis plaques isolated by laser microdissection.

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Neuroimmunology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892, USA.


The frequency of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) DNA was assessed in autopsy material from multiple sclerosis (MS) plaques and normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) from brains of persons with MS, healthy brains, and brains of persons with other neurologic diseases. Specific areas from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded brain tissue samples were isolated by laser microscope. DNA was extracted from laser microdissected brain material, and HHV-6 genomic sequences were amplified by nested polymerase chain reaction. We analyzed 44 NAWM samples and 64 MS plaques from 13 patients with MS, 46 samples from 13 patients with non-MS neurologic disorders, and 41 samples from 12 healthy control brains. Of the 44 NAWM samples, 7 (15.9%) were positive for HHV-6 DNA sequences, versus 37 (57.8%) of 64 MS plaques (P<.0005). HHV-6 DNA was detected in 10 (21.7%) of 46 samples from patients with non-MS neurologic disorders and in 11 (26.8%) of 41 samples from patients without known neurologic disease. Although the frequency of HHV-6 DNA did not differ significantly by sample type, HHV-6 DNA was significantly more common in MS plaques, suggesting that HHV-6 may play a role in MS pathogenesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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