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Ann Neurol. 1996 Nov;40(5):805-9.

Search for retrovirus in patients with multiple sclerosis.

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Abbott Laboratories, Viral Discovery Group, North Chicago, IL 60064-4000, USA.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) patient samples were screened for known or novel retroviruses using an ultrasensitive technique, IMx PERT, that detects the presence of reverse transcriptase (RT). This procedure has 10(5)- to 10(7)-fold greater sensitivity than conventional RT assays and is capable of detecting 10 to 50 virions. Moreover, IMx PERT is at least as sensitive as polymerase chain reaction, and requires no previous knowledge of viral nucleotide sequence. The MS specimens analyzed in this study included 136 sera from 79 patients and 128 cerebrospinal fluid samples from 53 patients with relapsing or chronic progressive disease. In addition, peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 19 MS patients were cultured in an attempt to amplify or induce expression of low-copy number or cell-associated retrovirus. No evidence of retrovirus was found in any of the specimens obtained from MS patients.

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