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Human papillomavirus and pterygium. Is the virus a risk factor?
  1. Nicolai Christian Sjø,
  2. Christian von Buchwald,
  3. Jan Ulrik Prause,
  4. Bodil Norrild,
  5. Troels Vinding,
  6. Steffen Heegaard (sh{at}
  1. Eye Pathology Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  2. Department of Oto-rhino-laryngology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
  3. Department of Ophthalmology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
  4. Protein Laboratory, University of Copenhagen, Denmark
  5. Department of Ophthalmology, Rigshospitalet, Copenhagen, Denmark
  6. Eye Pathology Institute, University of Copenhagen, Denmark


    Aim: Pterygium is a disease of unknown origin and pathogenesis that might be vision threatening. It is characterised by a winglike conjunctival overgrowth of the cornea. Several studies have investigated human papillomavirus (HPV) as a risk factor for development of pterygia, but the results are inconclusive. The purpose of the present study was to investigate a large sample of pterygia for the presence of human papillomavirus in order to clarify the putative association between pterygia and HPV.

    Methods: One hundred specimens of pterygium from Danish patients and twenty normal conjunctival biopsies were investigated for the presence of HPV with polymerase chain reaction technique (PCR) using betaglobin primers to access the quality of the extracted DNA and the HPV primers MY09/11 and GP5+/6+. HPV positive specimens underwent subsequent HPV typing with type specific HPV primers and further investigation with DNA in situ hybridisation (ISH).

    Results: Ninety of one hundred investigated pterygia proved suitable for HPV analysis by PCR since betaglobin could not be amplified in ten specimens which were excluded. Four of ninety pterygia harboured HPV. HPV type 6 was identified in all four HPV positive pterygia. The 20 normal conjunctival biopsies were betaglobin positive and HPV negative. All four pterygia that were HPV type 6 positive were DNA ISH negative.

    Conclusions: The low presence of HPV DNA in pterygia does not support the hypothesis that HPV is involved in the development of pterygia in Denmark.

    • HPV
    • Pterygium
    • aetiology
    • human papillomavirus

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