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J Pathol. 1992 Aug;167(4):365-8.

Herpes simplex virus type 1 DNA is present in specific regions of brain from aged people with and without senile dementia of the Alzheimer type.

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  • 1Department of Optometry and Vision Sciences, UMIST, Manchester, U.K.


We have investigated the possible involvement of viruses, specifically Herpes simplex virus type 1, in senile dementia of the Alzheimer type (SDAT). Using the highly sensitive polymerase chain reaction, we have detected the viral thymidine kinase gene in post-mortem brain from 14/21 cases of senile dementia of the Alzheimer type and 9/15 elderly normals. The temporal cortex and hippocampus were usually virus-positive; in contrast, the occipital cortex was virus-negative in 9/9 SDAT cases and 5/5 elderly normals. Temporal and frontal cortex from younger normals (five infants and five middle-aged) were negative. Thus, the presence of Herpes simplex virus type 1 DNA is a region-dependent feature of the aged brain.

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