In Situ Hybridization Analysis for Herpes Simplex Virus Nucleic Acids in Alzheimer Disease

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Histological sections of brain from patients showing evidence of advanced pathology of Alzheimer disease (AD) were examined for the presence of herpes simplex type-1 (HSV-1) nucleic acids by a sensitive in-situ hybridization technique. Samples from neurologically normal patients were examined in parallel. Sensitivity of the assay was verified by the detection of HSV-1 nucleic acids in neurons of trigeminal ganglia taken from cases of AD and normal controls. This indicated that the hybridization reaction was sufficiently sensitive to detect latent HSV-1 infections. Positive hybridization in the brain was only detected in a confirmed case of herpes simplex virus encephalitis. These results appear to confirm previous reports that HSV-1 infection is not directly involved in the pathology associated with AD.

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