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Clin Diagn Virol. 1994 Jun;2(3):211-20.

Nested PCR for detection of BK virus and JC virus DNA.

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Swedish Institute for Infectious Disease Control, Stockholm, Sweden.



A nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was developed to detect BK virus (BKV) and JC virus (JCV) DNA sequences. The unique clevage site for BamHI restriction enzyme was located in the JCV amplimer and cleavage was used to differentiate between BKV and JCV.


Twenty-three urine specimens from 17 bone marrow recipients with haemorrhagic cystitis and one liver transplant patient were tested for the presence of BKV and JCV DNA. Four brain tissue specimens (paraffin embedded brain tissues and a fresh frozen brain biopsy) and 5 cerebrospinal fluids from 3 AIDS patients and one liver transplant patient, all with progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), were also examined by PCR.


The sensitivity of the PCR was 10 genomes for each virus. BKV DNA was detected in 15 urine specimens from 12 bone marrow transplant patients. JCV DNA was detected in 4 cerebrospinal fluids and 4 brain tissues from patients with PML.


Our results show that the nested PCR is a sensitive and rapid assay that can be used for diagnosis of BKV and JCV infections. The cerebrospinal fluid appears to be a suitable material for diagnosis of JC virus reactivation in the brain.

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