Detection of merkel cell polyomavirus in the human tissues from 41 Japanese autopsy cases using polymerase chain reaction

Michiko Matsushita, Satoshi Kuwamoto, Takeshi Iwasaki, Hiromi Higaki-Mori, Shoji Yashima, Masako Kato, Ichiro Murakami, Yasushi Horie, Yukisato Kitamura, Kazuhiko Hayashi

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28 Citations (Scopus)


It has recently been shown that approximately 80% of Merkel cell carcinomas harbor a novel polyomavirus named Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV). MCPyV has been detected in human tissue samples. However, detailed distribution of MCPyV in non-neoplastic Japanese human tissues remains unclear. To address this, we used single or real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) for 41 autopsy cases. PCR revealed MCPyV-DNA in non-neoplastic samples: total, 29/41 (71%); adult, 29/39 (74%); fetus or infant, 0/2; men, 24/28 (86%); women, 5/13 (38%); total human tissues, 66/572 (12%); skin, 8/15 (53%); adrenal gland, 9/33 (27%), and other 16 organs (4-25%). This study first reported the presence of MCPyV-DNA in non-neoplastic tissues of thyroid gland, adrenal gland, spleen, bone marrow, stomach, gallbladder, pancreas, heart, and aorta. PCR revealed that viral load ranged from 0.00026 to 0.22 in all MCPyV-positive tissues compared with Merkel cell carcinoma samples. These detailed PCR data showed higher prevalence of MCPyV infection in Japanese men than women (p = 0.004) and broad distribution of MCPyV with low viral load in more non-neoplastic human tissues than in the previous reports. These data provide valuable insights for further studies of MCPyV infection and MCPyV-related diseases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-5
Number of pages5
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2012
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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