Brain tissue from 25 patients with clinically definite multiple sclerosis (MS) and as controls brain tissue from 36 patients without neurological disease was tested for the presence of human coronaviral RNA. Four PCR assays with primers specific for N-protein of human coronavirus strain 229E and three PCR assays with primers specific for the nucleocapsid protein of human coronavirus strain OC43 were performed. Sporadic positive PCR assays were observed in both patients and controls in some of the PCR assays. However, these results were not reproducible and there was no difference in the proportion of positive signals from the MS patients compared to controls. Evidence for a chronic infection with the human coronaviruses strain 229E or OC43 in brain tissue from patients with MS or controls has not been found in this study.