Search for retrovirus in the chronic fatigue syndrome

J Clin Pathol. 1992 Dec;45(12):1058-61. doi: 10.1136/jcp.45.12.1058.


Aim: To examine peripheral blood and skeletal muscle from patients with chronic fatigue syndrome for exogenous retrovirus.

Methods: Blood samples from 30 patients and muscle biopsy specimens of 15 patients were examined for retroviral sequences by DNA extraction, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), and Southern blotting hybridisation. Sera were examined for human foamy virus by western immunoblotting and indirect immunofluorescence techniques.

Results: No differences between the patient and control populations was found for any of the PCR primer sets used (gag, pol, env, and tax regions of HTLV I/II). An endogenous gag band was observed in both the patient and control groups. All sera were negative for antibody to human foamy virus.

Conclusion: The results indicate that there is no evidence of retroviral involvement in the chronic fatigue syndrome.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blotting, Southern
  • Blotting, Western
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / blood
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / microbiology*
  • Human T-lymphotropic virus 1 / isolation & purification*
  • Human T-lymphotropic virus 2 / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Muscles / microbiology
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction