A polymerase chain reaction-based assay for diagnosing varicella-zoster virus retinitis in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome

G. A. Short, T. P. Margolis, B. D. Kuppermann, A. R. Irvine, D. F. Martin, D. Chandler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

PURPOSE: To develop a rapid, sensitive, and specific laboratory assay based on the polymerase chain reaction for the diagnosis of varicella-zoster virus retinitis in patients with acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). METHODS: We developed and tested a polymerase chain reaction-based assay for the detection of varicella-zoster virus DNA in vitreous samples. We attempted to detect varicella-zoster virus DNA in 14 vitreous samples from patients with AIDS and a clinical diagnosis of progressive outer retinal necrosis syndrome. For controls, we also attempted to detect varicella-zoster virus DNA in vitreous samples from 75 immunocompetent patients with vitreoretinal disease and 88 patients with AIDS and vitreoretinal inflammatory disease not related to progressive outer retinal necrosis syndrome. RESULTS: Varicella- zoster virus DNA was detected in 11 of 14 vitreous samples from AIDS patients with progressive outer retinal necrosis syndrome. All three samples that scored negative for varicella-zoster virus DNA came from eyes that had been treated aggressively with antiviral drugs and had clinically inactive disease at the time of vitreous biopsy. Varicella-zoster virus DNA was detected in only two of 75 control vitreous samples from immunocompetent patients with vitreoretinal disease and two of 88 control vitreous samples from patients with AIDS and vitreoretinal inflammatory disease not related to progressive outer retinal necrosis syndrome. CONCLUSION: We have developed a rapid, sensitive, and specific polymerase chain reaction-based diagnostic assay for varicella-zoster virus DNA that will assist in the diagnosis of varicella- zoster virus retinitis in patients with AIDS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-164
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican journal of ophthalmology
Volume123
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 1997
Externally publishedYes

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