Detection of parvovirus mRNAs as markers for viral activity in endomyocardial biopsy-based diagnosis of patients with unexplained heart failure

Sci Rep. 2020 Dec 18;10(1):22354. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-78597-4.


Erythroparvovirus (B19V) genomes have been detected in various organs of infected individuals including endothelial cells of the heart muscle. However, the role of B19V as a causative pathogen of myocardial damage is still unknown. The majority of reports focus on the presence of viral DNA ignoring proof of viral RNAs as important markers for viral activity. During this study, we established (RT-) qPCR to characterize expression of B19V RNAs (NS1 and VP1/2) in endomyocardial biopsies (EMBs) of 576 patients with unexplained heart failure. 403/576 (70%) EMBs were positive for B19V DNA. B19V mRNAs NS1 and/or VP1/2, indicating viral activity, could be detected in 38.5% of B19V DNA positive samples using the newly established B19V RT-PCRs. 22.1% of samples were characterized by only NS1 mRNA detection while 6.0% revealed only VP1/2 mRNA expression. Detection of both intermediates was successful in 10.4% of samples. Applying the molecular testing, our study revealed that a high proportion (38.5%) of B19V DNA positive EMBs was characterized by viral transcriptional activity. Further prospective studies will evaluate relevance of viral transcription intermediates as a diagnostic marker to differentiate between latent B19V infection and clinically relevant transcriptionally active B19V-infection of the heart muscle.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biopsy
  • Female
  • Heart / physiopathology
  • Heart / virology
  • Heart Failure / complications
  • Heart Failure / diagnosis*
  • Heart Failure / genetics
  • Heart Failure / virology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parvovirus B19, Human / genetics
  • Parvovirus B19, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Parvovirus B19, Human / pathogenicity
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • RNA, Messenger / isolation & purification
  • Somatoform Disorders / complications
  • Somatoform Disorders / diagnosis*
  • Somatoform Disorders / genetics
  • Somatoform Disorders / virology
  • Viral Proteins / genetics
  • Viral Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Virus Diseases / complications
  • Virus Diseases / genetics*
  • Virus Diseases / virology


  • RNA, Messenger
  • Viral Proteins