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Failure To Detect Measles Virus Ribonucleic Acid In Bone Cells From Patients With Paget’s Disease

Brya G. Matthews, Muhammad A. Afzal, Philip D. Minor, Usha Bava, Karen E. Callon, Rocco P. Pitto, Tim Cundy, Jill Cornish, Ian R. Reid, Dorit Naot

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Abstract Background: Paget’s disease is a condition of focal accelerated bone turnover. Electron-microscopy investigations of osteoclasts from pagetic lesions have identified nuclear inclusion bodies that have a similar appearance to viral nucleocapsid particles. Subsequently, RNA from several paramyxoviruses has been detected in pagetic tissue, and it was suggested that these viruses, in particular measles, might play a role in the etiology of Paget’s disease. We have tested for measles virus sequences in osteoblasts and bone marrow cells collected from pagetic lesions and healthy bone. Methods: Bone and bone marrow samples were taken from Paget’s patients and control subjects, and cells were cultured from each of these tissues. RNA was extracted from 13 osteoblast cultures and 13 cultures of bone marrow cells derived from pagetic lesions, and from 26 and 23 control osteoblast and bone marrow cultures, respectively. These samples were sourced from 22 patients with Paget’s disease and 31 controls. RT-PCR-nested PCR amplification was used for the detection of the genes for the measles nucleocapsid and matrix proteins. Results: Measles virus sequences were not detected in any of the pagetic or control samples. However, measles virus sequences were identified in samples of a measles virus culture isolate included as a positive control, and in a brain sample from a patient with subacute sclerosing panencephalitis, a condition associated with chronic measles infection. Conclusion: The results of the study do not support the hypothesis that measles virus plays a role in the pathogenesis of Paget’s disease.