PCR-based approach for qualitative molecular analysis of six neurotropic pathogens

R. Ferese, L. Scorzolini, R. Campopiano, V. Albano, A. M. Griguoli, E. Giardina, S. Scala, L. Ryskalin, C. D'Alessio, S. Zampatti, R. Fantozzi, M. Storto, F. Fornai, S. Gambardella

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In the last few years, polymerase chain reaction analysis is frequently required to improve the detection of pathogen infections in central nervous system as a potential cause of neurological disorders and neuropsychiatric symptoms. The goal of this paper is to set up a fast, cheap and reliable molecular approach for qualitative detection of six neurotropic pathogens. A method based on PCR has been designed and implemented to guarantee the qualitative DNA detection of herpes simplex virus types 1 and 2 (HSVI/II), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), varicella-zoster virus (VZV), rubella virus (RUBV) and Toxoplasma gondii in the cerebrospinal fluid, where otherwise they are barely detectable. Each PCR assay was tested using dilutions of positive controls, which demonstrated a sensitivity allowing to detect up to 10(2) copies/ml in PCR and 10 copies/ml in real-time PCR for each pathogen. Once been setup, the protocol was applied to evaluate the cerebrospinal fluid from 100 patients with suspected infectious diseases of the central nervous system and 50 patients without any infection. The method allowed to identify 17 positive cerebrospinal fluid with polymerase chain reaction and 22 with real-time PCR (RT-PCR), respectively. Therefore, application of RT PCR allows a fast and sensitive evaluation of neurotropic DNA pathogens in the course of diagnostic routine within neurological units.
Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)273-279
Number of pages7
JournalActa Virologica
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • central nervous system
  • neurotropic infections
  • PCR
  • real-time PCR

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