Establishment of a simplified inverse polymerase chain reaction method for diagnosis of enzootic bovine leukosis

Arch Virol. 2021 Mar;166(3):841-851. doi: 10.1007/s00705-020-04945-4. Epub 2021 Jan 24.


Enzootic bovine leukosis (EBL) is a malignant B-cell lymphoma of cattle caused by infection with bovine leukemia virus (BLV). It is defined by clonal and neoplastic expansion of BLV-infected B cells. Currently, multiple examinations are able to comprehensively diagnose this condition. Inverse polymerase chain reaction (PCR) is a useful method to determine retrovirus integration sites. Here, we established a simplified inverse PCR method, involving the evaluation of clonality and similarity of BLV integration sites, to clinically diagnose EBL, and we also assessed its reliability. We found that the novel BLV inverse PCR could detect clonal expansion of infected cells even if they constituted only 5% of the total number of cells, while not amplifying any fragments from BLV-uninfected cells, thus confirming its sufficient sensitivity and specificity for use in EBL diagnosis. Furthermore, 50 clinical cases of bovine leukemia were analyzed using BLV inverse PCR and other PCR-based methods, wherein our method most efficiently determined virus-dependent bovine leukemia, including unidentified clinical cases observed in a previous report. Following further clinical investigations to enhance its reliability, the proposed BLV inverse PCR method has the potential to be applied to EBL diagnosis.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • B-Lymphocytes / pathology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / virology*
  • Cattle
  • Cell Line, Tumor
  • Enzootic Bovine Leukosis / diagnosis*
  • Enzootic Bovine Leukosis / virology
  • Leukemia Virus, Bovine / genetics*
  • Lymphoma, B-Cell / veterinary
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods*
  • Proviruses / genetics
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Sensitivity and Specificity