Quantitation of Latent Varicella-Zoster Virus and Herpes Simplex Virus Genomes in Human Trigeminal Ganglia

  • Pevenstein S
  • Williams R
  • McChesney D
 et al. 
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Using real-time fluorescence PCR, we quantitated the numbers of copies of latent varicella-zoster virus (VZV) and herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) and type 2 (HSV-2) genomes in 15 human trigeminal ganglia. Eight (53%) and 1 (7%) of 15 ganglia were PCR positive for HSV-1 or -2 glycoprotein G genes, with means of 2,902 {+/-} 1,082 (standard error of the mean) or 109 genomes/105 cells, respectively. Eleven of 14 (79%) to 13 of 15 (87%) of the ganglia were PCR positive for VZV gene 29, 31, or 62. Pooling of the results for the three VZV genes yielded a mean of 258 {+/-} 38 genomes/105 ganglion cells. These levels of latent viral genome loads have implications for virus distribution in and reactivation from human sensory ganglia.

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  • Stephanie R. Pevenstein

  • Richard K. Williams

  • Daniel McChesney

  • Erik K. Mont

  • John E. Smialek

  • Stephen E. Straus

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