Detection of Coronavirus RNA in CNS Tissue of Multiple Sclerosis and Control Patients

  • Ronald S. Murray
  • Bonnie MacMillan
  • Gary Cabirac
  • Jack S. Burks
Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (AEMB, volume 276)


The cause of multiple sclerosis (MS) remains unknown. One of the leading hypothesis states that MS may result from the direct or indirect effects of a CNS viral infection. The hallmark of MS is the demyelinating lesion which may represent the final immunopathological reaction to many viral or non-viral precipitants. We are investigating coronaviruses in MS. Previously, two CV’s were isolated from the brains of two patients with MS after passage through murine systems (1) . CV are widely distributed in nature and are common human and animal pathogens. In addition, CNS demyelination results from CV infection of rodents (2,3) and in one report primates (4). The putative MS isolates (CV-SD and CV-SK) are antigenically related to the human CV OC43 and the murine CV A59 (5) . To date no species specific marker has been identified and serologic data have not definitively resolved the species origin of CV-SD or CV-SK (5-7). Direct virus isolation from tissue is difficult, therefor to evaluate whether CV are present in human CNS tissue, the method of in situ hybridization (ISH) was performed using cDNA probes to detect CV-RNA. We report here the presence of CV-RNA sequences in human CNS tissue. In addition, CV-RNA is much more frequent in MS than non-MS tissue. These findings raise the question of a potential role for CV in MS.


Multiple Sclerosis Multiple Sclerosis Patient Mouse Hepatitis Virus Subacute Sclerosing Panencephalitis Human Coronavirus 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ronald S. Murray
    • 1
  • Bonnie MacMillan
    • 1
  • Gary Cabirac
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jack S. Burks
    • 1
  1. 1.Rocky Mountain Multiple Sclerosis CenterColorado Neurological Institute, and Swedish Medical CenterEnglewoodUSA
  2. 2.Dept. of BiochemistryUniv. of Colorado Health Sciences CenterDenverUSA

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