Diagnosis of human cytomegalovirus infection of the nervous system by pp65 detection in polymorphonuclear leukocytes of cerebrospinal fluid from AIDS patients

J Infect Dis. 1994 Nov;170(5):1275-9. doi: 10.1093/infdis/170.5.1275.


Detection of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) pp65 in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) polymorphonuclear leukocytes (PMNL) was investigated in 32 CSF samples from 25 AIDS patients with neurologic symptoms. HCMV pp65-positive PMNL were detected in 9 CSF samples from 3 patients with polyradiculoneuropathy (frequency, 1.2%-20.8%) and 1 with encephalitis (frequency, 56%). pp65-positive PMNL appeared hypersegmented compared with peripheral blood PMNL. HCMV was isolated from 3 CSF samples from 2 patients with polyradiculoneuropathy. Retrospective quantitation of viral DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was in agreement with pp65 detection in 27 of 28 samples tested (96.4% concordance). Specificity and sensitivity of pp65 assay versus PCR were 100% (17/17 negative samples) and 90.9% (10/11 positive samples), respectively. Examination of CSF for presence of pp65-positive PMNL appears to be a sensitive and specific test for diagnosis of HCMV infections of the nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / cerebrospinal fluid
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / diagnosis*
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cytomegalovirus Infections / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Nervous System Diseases / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Nervous System Diseases / diagnosis*
  • Neutrophils / chemistry*
  • Phosphoproteins / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Viral Matrix Proteins / cerebrospinal fluid*


  • Phosphoproteins
  • Viral Matrix Proteins
  • cytomegalovirus matrix protein 65kDa