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J Virol Methods. 1987 Jul;16(4):327-38.

Rapid detection of cytomegalovirus by tissue culture, centrifugation, and immunofluorescence with a monoclonal antibody to an early nuclear antigen.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, University of Nebraska, Omaha.


A rapid, sensitive and specific assay for the detection of cytomegalovirus (CMV) was developed utilizing MRC-5 cells in 24-well plates containing round coverslips. Centrifugation expedited the detection of CMV early antigen with monoclonal antibody. Immunofluorescent staining 16 h after inoculation with a stock CMV preparation (AD-169), demonstrated an 11-fold increase in the number of nuclear inclusions when the specimens were centrifuged (18 +/- 2.2) as compared to the non-centrifuged specimen (1.6 +/- 0.9). However, the number of nuclear inclusions depended on the age of the MRC-5 cells. They were more sensitive to CMV infection between 4 and 11 days after the cells were seeded into plates. Among 159 patient samples cultured for CMV, 23 (14%) were positive by the rapid method (mean of 32 h) and 18 (11%) by routine tissue culture (mean of 12 days). Cytomegalovirus in urine was detected within 1.3 days, whereas buffy coats (2.3 days) and bronchial washings (2.5 days) took longer. Staining for CMV inclusions at more than one time point was necessary for the optimal detection of CMV by the rapid method. We recommend using this assay system as it is rapid, specific, sensitive and versatile for the detection of CMV in many biological specimens.

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