Persistent virus infection of muscle in postviral fatigue syndrome

Br Med Bull. 1991 Oct;47(4):852-71. doi: 10.1093/oxfordjournals.bmb.a072516.


Nucleic acid was extracted from muscle biopsy samples from a series of highly selected patients suffering from chronic muscle fatiguability following a viral infection (Postviral Fatigue Syndrome: PVFS). Samples were examined for the presence of enteroviral RNA sequences or Epstein-Barr (EBV) virus DNA sequences by molecular hybridisation as these two agents have been implicated by retrospective serology in the aetiology of PVFS. We found enteroviral RNA in 24% of biopsy samples and EBV DNA in a further 9% of biopsy samples: no biopsy was positive for both enteroviral RNA and EBV DNA. In addition, in the case of enteroviruses we found that the persisting virus is defective in control of RNA replication as both strands of enteroviral RNA are present in similar amounts: this is unlike the asymmetric synthesis of genomic RNA seen in a productive, cytolytic enterovirus infection. The implications of these data in relation to mechanisms of viral persistence and muscle dysfunction are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Enterovirus / genetics
  • Enterovirus / isolation & purification
  • Enterovirus Infections / microbiology*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / microbiology*
  • Humans
  • Muscles / microbiology*
  • RNA, Viral / analysis


  • DNA, Viral
  • RNA, Viral