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Bradley M. Mitchell, Ramon L. Font; Detection of Varicella Zoster Virus DNA in Some Patients with Giant Cell Arteritis. Invest. Ophthalmol. Vis. Sci. 2001;42(11):2572-2577.
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purpose. The purpose of this study was to determine whether an association
exists between giant cell arteritis (GCA) and the presence of
varicella-zoster virus (VZV), by using histologic, molecular,
immunohistochemical, and ultrastructural analyses of temporal artery
methods. In a randomized masked study, 64 temporal artery biopsy specimens were
analyzed by PCR for VZV DNA. The samples included 35 specimens
histologically positive and 29 specimens histologically negative for
GCA. Immunohistochemical staining for VZV viral antigen IE-63 was
performed on seven of the specimens positive for GCA and five negative
specimens. Transmission electron microscopy (TEM) was performed on five
of the specimens positive for GCA.
results. PCR was positive for VZV DNA in 9 (26%) temporal arteries tested that
showed histologic evidence of GCA. The remaining 26 histologically
positive temporal arteries and all 29 histologically negative arteries
tested gave negative PCR results for VZV DNA. Statistical analysis
(z-test) comparing the association of VZV DNA between
the specimens that were positive and negative for GCA showed a
significant difference (P = 0.010).
Immunohistochemical studies were positive in several biopsy specimens
within adventitial histiocytes-macrophages, but these results did not
correlate with either the presence or absence of VZV DNA or with the
histologic evidence of GCA. No viral particles were observed by TEM.
conclusions. This study showed a significant association of VZV DNA to temporal
artery biopsy samples positive for GCA compared with the negative
specimens. The results support the hypothesis that VZV may play a role
in the pathogenesis of some cases of GCA. However, PCR,
immunohistochemical, and electron microscopic findings suggest the
virus is present at extremely low quantities, is abortively
replicating, or is latent.
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