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J Clin Microbiol. 2012 Mar;50(3):626-32. doi: 10.1128/JCM.06163-11. Epub 2012 Jan 11.

No evidence for an association between persistent measles virus infection and otosclerosis among patients with otosclerosis in Japan.

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Departments of Virology and Otorhinolaryngology, Kyushu University, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka, Japan.


Otosclerosis, which is characterized by disordered bone remodeling, occurs exclusively in the human temporal bone. The etiology of the disease is unknown, but a popular hypothesis is that it is caused by persistent measles virus (MV) infection. Paramyxovirus-like filamentous structures were found in otosclerotic lesions of stapes footplates from patients with otosclerosis. Although MV RNAs have been detected in otosclerotic samples by using reverse transcription-PCR, no complete MV mRNA sequence has been reported, nor has infectious virus been isolated from clinical samples. Furthermore, one study failed to obtain evidence of MV infection in otosclerotic bone samples. In this study, we tested, by three different protocols, for the presence of MV in clinical samples from patients with otosclerosis in Japan. We used a highly sensitive reverse transcription-quantitative PCR method which is able to detect viral mRNA in cells infected with MV at around one infectious unit per well. We obtained no evidence of MV infection in bone samples, primary cell cultures derived from stapes bones, or MV-susceptible cell lines (Vero/hSLAM and II-18 cells) cocultured with bone samples or primary cell cultures derived from them. Thus, our results do not support the hypothesis that persistent MV infection is involved in the pathoetiology of otosclerosis.

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