Author(s): Woodall CJ, Riding MH, Graham DI, Clements GB
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To investigate the association of enteroviruses with motor neurone disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis. DESIGN: Analysis by enterovirus polymerase chain reaction of wax embedded material from spinal cords taken at necropsy from subjects with motor neurone disease and from age and sex matched controls. SETTING: Specimens were collected in the west of Scotland and in London between 1982 and 1992. RESULTS: Sequences specific for a non-poliovirus type enterovirus were detected in spinal cord tissue from subjects with motor neurone disease. Amplification of a 414 base RNA target sequence in the conserved enterovirus 5' untranslated region from wax embedded tissue sections was successful in tissue from eight of 11 cases of sporadic motor neurone disease, one of two cases of familial motor neurone disease, and the one case of poliomyelitis, but not in the six matched controls or one case of antecedent poliomyelitis. In addition, sequences were detected in spinal cords from one monkey infected with wild type poliovirus and one monkey infected with polio vaccine. Comparison of sequences from cases of motor neurone disease with sequences of corresponding regions of the 5' untranslated regions of known picornaviruses showed them to be tightly grouped within the enterovirus genus closely related to coxsackievirus type B but not to polioviruses. Sequences derived from different parts of the spinal cord of the same subjects were identical, but sequences differed between individual subjects. CONCLUSIONS: Conserved enteroviral sequences closely related to coxsackie B virus sequences were detectable in spinal cords from subjects with sporadic motor neurone disease and from one subject with possible familial motor neurone disease.
This article was published in BMJ
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology