Detection of human herpesviruses in the cerebrospinal fluid from patients diagnosed with or suspected of having progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy
1 Department of Virology 1, National Institute of Infectious Diseases, Toyama 1-23-1, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 162-8640, Japan
2 Department of Ecosocial System Engineering, Interdisciplinary Graduate School of Medicine and Engineering, University of Yamanashi, Takeda 4-3-11, Kofu City 400-8511, Yamanashi, Japan
BMC Neurology 2013, 13:200 doi:10.1186/1471-2377-13-200Published: 13 December 2013
Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a fatal demyelinating disease caused by JC virus (JCV), occurs mainly in immunocompromised patients. While JCV DNA is detected in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) from a certain proportion of patients suspected of having PML, JCV-negative patients may also develop brain lesions due to other infectious agents. This study assessed the prevalence of six herpesviruses in the CSF from patients diagnosed with or suspected of PML.
Two hundred and ninety-nine CSF specimens and clinical data were collected from 255 patients, including 31 confirmed PML cases. Quantitative PCR assays were carried out to detect the genomic DNA of JCV, herpes simplex virus (HSV), varicella-zoster virus (VZV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), and human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6).
Herpesvirus DNAs were detected in the CSF specimens from 29 of 255 patients (11.4%). HSV-1 and CMV were detected in JCV-negative patients, whereas VZV and EBV were detected in both CSF JCV-positive and -negative individuals. The herpesvirus-positive patients had underlying disorders that caused immunosuppression, such as HIV infection, congenital immunodeficiencies, and hematologic malignancies, and presented with neurologic symptoms and MRI lesions, mainly in the cerebral white matter. The median values of CSF cell counts and protein levels in the herpesvirus-positive patients were slightly higher than those in the PML patients.
The results demonstrate that herpesviruses are occasionally detected in the CSF from PML patients and immunocompromised individuals suspected of having PML. Thus, this study provides a significant basis for the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders in immunocompromised patients.