Comparative quantitation of human cytomegalovirus DNA in blood leukocytes and plasma of transplant and AIDS patients

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A new method for the quantitation of human cytomegalovirus (HCMV) DNA was used to determine the levels of viral DNA in parallel in 120 blood leukocyte (leukoDNAemia) and plasma (plasmaDNAemia) samples from 8 heart or heart-lung transplant patients and 17 AIDS patients with disseminated HCMV infection. PlasmaDNAemia was consistently associated with leukoDNAemia in both groups of patients. However, at least in the transplant patients, plasmaDNAemia was not necessarily associated with clinical symptoms, appearing later and disappearing earlier than leukoDNAemia during the course of infection. Quantitative mean levels of leukoDNAemia were mostly higher than those of plasmaDNAemia in both transplant and AIDS patients. However, in the absence of antiviral treatment, plasmaDNAemia levels were significantly higher in AIDS patients than in transplant recipients, whereas leukoDNAemia levels were not significantly different between the two groups of patients. A significant correlation was found between leukoDNAemia and plasmaDNAemia in AIDS patients, as well as in transplant recipients, although to a lesser degree. However, from a diagnostic standpoint, quantitative determination of plasmaDNAemia appears to represent a much less sensitive parameter than that of leukoDNAemia (or antigenemia) for monitoring HCMV infections and antiviral treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2709-2717
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Clinical Microbiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Microbiology (medical)


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