Human coronavirus gene expression in the brains of multiple sclerosis patients

Virology. 1992 Nov;191(1):502-5. doi: 10.1016/0042-6822(92)90220-j.


Total RNA extracted from both white and gray matter of brain tissue from multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and controls was analyzed using a reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction for the presence of the nucleic acid of human coronavirus (HCV) 229E and OC43, the two strains characterized to date and associated with respiratory infections. HCV-229E viral RNA was detectable in the central nervous system tissue of 4 of 11 MS patients and in none of 6 neurological and 5 normal controls. No HCV-OC43 nucleic acid was detected in any of the specimens. These results suggest a neurotropism on the part of the 229E strain of human coronavirus and underline the importance of further studies on its tissue distribution. The fact that it was detected only in tissue from MS patients illustrates the need for continued studies on the possible role of coronaviruses in the etiology of MS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Base Sequence
  • Brain / microbiology*
  • Coronaviridae / genetics
  • Coronaviridae / isolation & purification*
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multiple Sclerosis / microbiology*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction


  • DNA, Viral