The precipitating factors of idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) have not been elucidated. Recently, a novel DNA virus named TTvirus (TTV) was discovered in a patient with post-transfusion hepatitis of unknown aetiology TTV is a circular, single-stranded DNA virus of 3.8 kB. To evaluate the relationship between TTV and IPF, the sera of 33 patients with IPF were tested for the presence of TTV DNA by semi-nested polymerase chain reaction. TTV DNA was detected in 12 (36.4%) IPF patients. The serum lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) level was significantly higher in the IPF patients withTTV than in those without TTV (802 +/- 121 vs. 530 +/- 49 IU l(-1), p < 0.05). Six (50%) of 12 patients in theTTV DNA-positive group died during the observation period, while only six (28.6%) of 21 patients in theTTV DNA-negative group died. The 3-year-survival rate was significantly lower in the TTV DNA-positive group than in theTTV DNA-negative group (58-3% vs. 95.2%, P <0-02). Replicative intermediate forms of TTV DNA were detected in the lung specimen from a TTV-infected IPF patient. TTV infection influences the disease activityand prognosis of IPF in some cases. Further studies are required to elucidate the clinical significance of TTV in IPF.