Detection of an infectious retrovirus, XMRV, in blood cells of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome

Virulence. 2010 Sep-Oct;1(5):386-90. doi: 10.4161/viru.1.5.12486.


In October 2009, we reported the first direct isolation of infectious xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus (XMRV). In that study, we used a combination of biological amplification and molecular enhancement techniques to detect XMRV in more than 75% of 101 patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). Since our report, controversy arose after the publication of several studies that failed to detect XMRV infection in their CFS patient populations. In this addenda, we further detail the multiple detection methods we used in order to observe XMRV infection in our CFS cohort. Our results indicate that PCR from DNA of unstimulated peripheral blood mononuclear cells is the least sensitive method for detection of XMRV in subjects' blood. We advocate the use of more than one type of assay in order to determine the frequency of XMRV infection in patient cohorts in future studies of the relevance of XMRV to human disease.

MeSH terms

  • Blood Cells / virology*
  • Fatigue Syndrome, Chronic / virology*
  • Humans
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Sensitivity and Specificity
  • Virology / methods*
  • Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus / isolation & purification*