Acute monosymptomatic optic neuritis (AMON) may be an initial symptom of multiple sclerosis (MS). Coronaviruses have been implicated in the etiology of MS. The objective of the present study was to look for coronaviral RNA in AMON, which could be present in the initial stages of the development of MS.
Material and methods: Spinal fluids from 37 patients with AMON and 15 surgical control patients with protrusion of the intervertebral disk were assayed with a nested multiplex polymerase chain reaction with primers specific for human coronaviruses strain (HCV) 229E and OC43.
Results: Four patients and 1 control were positive for HCV-229E. No evidence of HCV-OC43 was found. The frequency of positive samples was low and there was no statistical difference between AMON and controls.
Conclusion: This study does not provide evidence for an etiological role of human coronaviruses in acute monosymptomatic optic neuritis.