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J Invest Dermatol. 2009 Apr;129(4):1026-34. doi: 10.1038/jid.2008.317. Epub 2008 Oct 16.

High beta-HPV DNA loads and strong seroreactivity are present in epidermodysplasia verruciformis.

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Department of Clinical and Experimental Medicine, Medical School of Novara, Novara, Italy.


Epidermodysplasia verruciformis (EV) is a rare disease, characterized by cutaneous warts and associated with a strong predisposition to beta-genus human papillomavirus (HPV). Earlier studies reported high copy numbers of HPV-DNA in nearly all skin tumors from EV patients, but neither HPV replication status in non-lesional skin nor anti-HPV seroreactivity in these patients have been reported yet. We therefore performed a comprehensive viral load analysis for the more common beta-HPV types on skin samples and plucked eyebrow hairs from four EV patients treated at our dermatology department. The results clearly demonstrate that they carry a multiplicity (up to eighteen types) of beta-HPV genotypes in both skin sites. Worthy of note, a high intrapatient concordance for specific types between hair bulbs and skin biopsies was observed and the same beta-PV profile was maintained over time. Viral load analysis revealed a load range between less than one HPV-DNA copy per 100 cells to more than 400 HPV-DNA copies per cell in both eyebrow hairs and skin proliferative lesions. Evaluation of seroreactivity to beta-HPV types in the four EV patients revealed that antibodies against the 16 beta-HPV were significantly more prevalent and showed higher titers than in the controls.

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