‘No evidence of murine-like gammaretroviruses in CFS patients previously identified as XMRV-infected’, Science Express, 31 May 2011

From Science Express, 31 May 2011.

Konstance Knox1,2, Donald Carrigan1,2, Graham Simmons3,4, Fernando Teque 5 , Yanchen Zhou3,4, John Hackett Jr.6, Xiaoxing Qiu6, Ka-Cheung Luk6, Gerald Schochetman6, Allyn Knox1, Andreas M. Kogelnik2 , and Jay A. Levy5,*
+ Author Affiliations

1Wisconsin Viral Research Group, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.
2Open Medicine Institute, Mountain View, CA 94040, USA.
3Blood Systems Research Institute, San Francisco, CA 94118, USA.
4Department of Laboratory Medicine, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.
5Department of Medicine, Hematology/Oncology Division, University of California, San Francisco, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.
6Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, IL 60064, USA.
*↵To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: Jay.Levy@ucsf.edu

ABSTRACT

Murine-like gammaretroviruses (MLVs), most notably XMRV [xenotropic murine leukemia virus (X-MLV)–related virus], have been reported to be present in the blood of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). We evaluated blood samples from 61 patients with CFS from a single clinical practice, 43 of whom had previously been identified as XMRV-positive. Our analysis included polymerase chain reaction and reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction procedures for detection of viral nucleic acids and assays for detection of infectious virus and virus-specific antibodies. We found no evidence of XMRV or other MLVs in these blood samples. In addition, we found that these gammaretroviruses were strongly (X-MLV) or partially (XMRV) susceptible to inactivation by sera from CFS patients and healthy controls, which suggested that establishment of a successful MLV infection in humans would be unlikely. Consistent with previous reports, we detected MLV sequences in commercial laboratory reagents. Our results indicate that previous evidence linking XMRV and MLVs to CFS is likely attributable to laboratory contamination.

Received for publication 1 March 2011.
Accepted for publication 16 May 2011.

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