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Virology. 1992 Nov;191(1):72-80.

Evidence of human polyomavirus BK and JC infection in normal brain tissue.

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Institut für Virologie und Immunbiologie, Universität Würzburg, BRD.


Infection with the polyomaviruses JC and BK is ubiquitous in the human population and JCV is the only virus associated with the central nervous system disease progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy. In the attempt to analyze the pathogenesis of polyomavirus infections we asked whether human polyomaviruses invade the brain during persistence. Brain autopsy material from 67 individuals with disorders other than PML was examined for the presence of polyomavirus DNA. Southern blot analysis demonstrated JCV-specific full-length virus genomes in healthy brain tissue in about 20% of the patients. Type-specific analysis with polymerase chain reaction and sequencing confirmed these data. Additionally, the presence of BKV DNA sequences covering an early gene fragment and the control region with flanking early and late protein coding sequences was detected. Cloning of the complete BKV genome from two cases supported the assumption that not only full-length JCV DNA was present in those tissue specimens but also BKV genomes. The data obtained demonstrate that dual infection of the brain with the polyomaviruses JCV and BKV is a common event and give strong evidence that both viruses frequently establish a latent CNS infection.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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