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Am J Pathol. 1997 Jan;150(1):147-53.

Detection of the herpesvirus-like DNA sequences in matched specimens of semen and blood from patients with AIDS-related Kaposi's sarcoma by polymerase chain reaction in situ hybridization.

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Department of Dermatology, New York University Medical Center 10016, USA.


The DNA sequences of a novel human gamma-herpesvirus type 8 (HHV-8) have recently been detected in Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) lesions obtained from different populations in whom this neoplasm occurs, suggesting that this virus may be implicated in the etiology and/or pathogenesis of KS. To study the distribution and possible means of transmission of the putative viral agent, specimens of KS skin lesions, matched uninvolved skin, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PB-MCs), and semen were collected from 12 HIV-positive homosexual men with acquired immune deficiency syndrome (AIDS)-related KS (AIDS-KS) and 2 human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-negative homosexual men with KS. HHV-8 virus DNA was detected by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) studies in all 14 of these KS specimens and in 6 of 14 biopsies of normal-appearing skin distant from any KS lesions including 1 uninvolved skin specimen from an HIV-negative homosexual male with KS. In addition, 3 of 12 PBMC samples and 3 of 12 semen samples from the AIDS-KS patients were positive for HHV-8. The DNA sequences of HHV-8 were not detected in the matched semen and PBMC specimens obtained from 2 HIV-negative homosexual men with KS, 4 HIV-positive homosexual patients without KS, 2 HIV-seronegative healthy homosexual men, 5 HIV-positive heterosexual male intravenous drug users, or 5 healthy HIV-negative heterosexual donors. Using PCR in situ, positive signals for HHV-8 were demonstrated in the B lymphocyte subsets of PBMCs and/or in spermatozoa and mononuclear cells in the semen from some of the PCR-positive specimens from the AIDS-KS patients examined. These data show that HHV-8 is present in and could possibly be transmitted via semen and/or blood from some homosexual men with AIDS-KS.

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