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J Med Virol. 2014 Sep;86(9):1614-20. doi: 10.1002/jmv.23852. Epub 2013 Nov 21.

Infection and persistence of erythrovirus B19 in benign and cancerous thyroid tissues.

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Departments of Psychiatry and Pediatrics, University of Florida College of Medicine, Gainesville, Florida.


Human erythrovirus B19 (EVB19) is a small, pathogenic DNA virus that has been associated with a wide range of illnesses. The primary site of replication is in bone marrow-derived erythroid progenitor cells, but EVB19 DNA has been detected in a wide range of organs. Recently, studies have linked EVB19 to thyroid cancers and other thyroid diseases. Previous studies from multiple laboratories have detected EVB19 capsid proteins in Graves' disease, Hashimoto's thyroiditis, and thyroid cancer tissues. Data on viral gene expression and mechanism of infection in the thyroid are lacking. To investigate EVB19 infection and persistence in the thyroid, previously archived adult and pediatric tissue sections were examined for EVB19 DNA, RNA, and capsid proteins, as well as EVB19 receptor P-antigen and co-receptor α5β1 integrin. EVB19 DNA and protein were detected in a majority of tissues examined (87% and 68%, respectively). Detection was similar in adult and pediatric samples. Quantification of viral genomes revealed no significant difference in the amount of viral DNA in benign, cancerous, or metastatic thyroid tissues. EVB19 capsid RNA was detected in 67% of the tissues examined, confirming at least low-level viral gene expression. Immunohistochemical staining for P-antigen and α5β1 detected the receptor and co-receptor most frequently on normal thyroid epithelial cells. EVB19 capsid staining could be detected in tumors lacking viral receptors. These results suggest that normal thyroid epithelial cells are the initial target for EVB19 infection in the thyroid and allow for continued persistence in both normal and cancerous thyroid tissues.


P antigen; erythrovirus; integrin α5β1; thyroid

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