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Iran J Microbiol. 2017 Apr;9(2):112-118.

No molecular evidence of Borna disease virus among schizophrenia and bipolar disorder patients in Iran.

Author information

Virology Department, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Mental Health Research Center, Department of Psychiatry, Iran Mental Hospital, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.
Department of Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Iran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


Background and Objectives:

Viruses have been suggested as one of the risk factors for psychiatric disorders. Among infectious agents Borna disease virus (BDV) has been known as a neurotropic virus which is able to cause neurological disorders in different animals. Recently there were controversial findings about BDV association with pathogenesis of human psychotic disorders.

Materials and Methods:

Here we performed a nested reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction for detection of BDV P40 RNA in peripheral blood mononuclear cell samples of schizophrenia (SC), bipolar disorder (BD) patients and healthy controls (HCs).


Only one out of 120 (0.8 %) psychiatric patients and two samples (2.7%) in 75 HCs showed positive results. There were no significant molecular evidence of BDV infection in 120 psychotic patients (60 SC and 60 BD) and 75 matched HCs.


Our findings showed no association between BDV infection and pathogenesis of these psychiatric disorders. This is an interesting issue given both the as yet un-clarified role of BDV in human mental disorders and addressing patients in the so far under-investigating Middle East era.


Bipolar disorder; Borna disease virus; Iran; Nested RT-PCR; Schizophrenia


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