Detection of sequences homologous to human retroviral DNA in multiple sclerosis by gene amplification.
Twenty-one patients with multiple sclerosis, chronic progressive type, were examined for DNA sequences homologous to a human retrovirus. Genomic DNA from peripheral blood mononuclear cells was analyzed for the presence of homologous sequences to the human T-cell leukemia/lymphoma virus type I (HTLV-I) long terminal repeat, 3' gag, pol, and env domains by the enzymatic in vitro gene amplification technique, polymerase chain reaction. Positive identification of homologous pol sequences was made in the amplified DNA from six of these patients (29%). Three of these six patients (14%) also tested positive for the env region, but not for the other regions tested. In contrast, none of the samples from 35 normal individuals studied was positive when amplified and tested with the same primers and probes. Comparison of patterns obtained from controls and from patients with adult T-cell leukemia or tropical spastic paraparesis suggests that the DNA sequences identified are exogenous to the human genome and may correspond to a human retroviral species. The data support the detection of a human retroviral agent in some patients with multiple sclerosis.
Greenberg, SJ; Ehrlich, GD; Abbott, MA; Hurwitz, BJ; Waldmann, TA; Poiesz, BJ
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