Using polymerase chain reaction and specific primers, we found no gag and env sequences of HTLV-1 in DNA samples from peripheral blood mononuclear cells of 26 multiple sclerosis (MS) patients with relapsing-remitting, relapsing-progressive and progressive course from onset of the disease, and from 8 patients affected with other neurological diseases (OND). A Positive signal for the gag region was found in DNA samples from cerebrospinal fluid mononuclear cells (CSFMC) of 6/17 (27.3%) MS patients (either with relapsing-remitting, or relapsing-progressive and progressive course from onset of the disease), and in 2/11 (18.2%) CSFMC OND samples. Positive hybridization for the env sequence was evident in 2/11 (18.2%) CSFMC from OND and none of MS samples. The finding of positive hybridization for gag and env sequences in a few samples of CSFMC may be related to the presence in the CSF of a great number of activated cells, which could express cross-reacting sequences of endogenous retrovirus.
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