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May 1997

The Use of Polymerase Chain Reaction Techniques to Detect Varicella-zoster Virus in Corneal Transplant Tissue

Author Affiliations

Jacksonville, Fla

Arch Ophthalmol. 1997;115(5):664-665. doi:10.1001/archopht.1997.01100150666019

In this issue of the Archives, Mietz and colleagues1 report the findings in the clinical records and correlate these with the histopathological findings in the corneal buttons following corneal transplant surgery in 14 patients with herpes zoster ophthalmicus. In addition to an evaluation using light microscopy, they utilized the polymerase chain reaction (PCR) technique combined with gel electrophoresis and hybridization for the detection of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) DNA. Similar PCR techniques have been used clinically to detect herpes simplex virus (HSV) in the corneal stroma and to detect VZV in skin lesions, the cerebrospinal fluid, and the corneal epithelium; these techniques have also been applied for research use to detect VZV and HSV DNA in the trigeminal and thoracic ganglia. Seven of the 14 corneal buttons were positive for VZV DNA with the finding correlated most strongly with the clinical findings of uveitis and the histopathological features of chronic

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