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Polymerase chain reaction analysis of aqueous humour samples in necrotising retinitis
  1. T H C Tran1,
  2. F Rozenberg2,
  3. N Cassoux1,
  4. N A Rao3,
  5. P LeHoang1,
  6. B Bodaghi1
  1. 1Department of Ophthalmology, Pitié-Salpêtriére Hospital, Paris, France
  2. 2Department of Virology, Saint Vincent de Paul Hospital, Paris, France
  3. 3Doheny Eye Institute, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, USA
  1. Correspondence to: B Bodaghi, MD, PhD, Department of Ophthalmology, Pitié-Salpêtriére Hospital, 47–83 Boulevard de l'Hôpital, 75013 Paris, France; bahram.bodaghi{at}


Aim: To evaluate the diagnostic value of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) performed on aqueous humour for the detection of viral DNA in patients with necrotising herpetic retinitis.

Methods: The clinical features and laboratory results of 22 patients (29 eyes) presenting with necrotising herpetic retinitis between March 1999 and June 2001 were reviewed retrospectively. Aqueous humour was obtained after anterior chamber paracentesis and PCR was performed in all cases.

Results: Viral DNA was detected in the aqueous humour of 19 patients (86.4%). Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) seroconversion was evidenced in one additional patient. In the acute retinal necrosis (ARN) group (n = 19), varicella zoster virus (VZV) DNA was identified in six patients, herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) DNA in two patients, herpes simplex virus 2 (HSV-2) DNA in four patients, and cytomegalovirus (CMV) genome in four patients. In the progressive outer retinal necrosis (PORN) group (n = 3), VZV DNA was detected in all patients. No sample was positive for more than one virus.

Conclusions: PCR analysis of aqueous humour in patients with clinical features of necrotising viral retinitis can provide specific aetiological orientation and the method appears to be safe and highly sensitive.

  • retinal necrosis
  • herpesviruses
  • paracentesis
  • polymerase chain reaction
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