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J Hepatol. 2004 Feb;40(2):203-11.

Lack of evidence for reovirus infection in tissues from patients with biliary atresia and congenital dilatation of the bile duct.

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Department of Pediatric Surgery (E6), Graduate School of Medicine, Chiba University, 1-8-1 Inohana, Chuo-Ku, Chiba, Japan.



To clarify the association between the reovirus infection of the hepatobiliary tree and the development of infantile obstructive cholangiopathy (IOC) including biliary atresia (BA) and congenital dilatation of the bile duct (CBD).


We designed reovirus common primers for nested RT-PCR based on the L3 gene segment. The spectrum and the sensitivity of common primers were evaluated with purified reoviral RNAs and reovirus mixed with stool samples. Then, nested RT-PCRs were performed with hepatobiliary and fecal samples obtained from patients with BA, CBD, and control diseases. Additionally, electron microscopy of stool samples was performed.


The L3 common primers could amplify cDNAs synthesized from RNAs of three prototypes of reovirus, and detect as much as 5.0x10(3) plaque forming unit of serotype 3 Dearing strain in 100 mg of fecal samples. However, no amplification product was detected in 136 hepatobiliary tissues taken from 67 patients including 26 BAs and 28 CBDs, or in 65 fecal samples obtained from 15 patients including 10 BAs and 1 CBD. Additionally, viral particles were not found in any stool specimens by the electron microscope.


These data do not suggest that reoviruses play a major role in the etiology of IOC or BA.

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