Merkel cell polyomavirus DNA sequences in peripheral blood and tissues from patients with Langerhans cell histiocytosis

Ichiro Murakami, Michiko Matsushita, Takeshi Iwasaki, Satoshi Kuwamoto, Masako Kato, Yasushi Horie, Kazuhiko Hayashi, Toshihiko Imamura, Akira Morimoto, Shinsaku Imashuku, Jean Gogusev, Francis Jaubert, Katsuyoshi Takata, Takashi Oka, Tadashi Yoshino

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


Summary Langerhans cell histiocytosis (LCH) is a group of granulomatous disorders in which abnormal Langerhans cells proliferate as either a localized lesion in a single bone or disseminated disease involving two or more organs or systems. Because the different LCH forms exhibit significantly elevated levels of inflammatory molecules, including pro-inflammatory cytokines and tissue-degrading enzymes, we investigated for a possible viral trigger in LCH pathogenesis. We looked for Merkel cell polyomavirus (MCPyV) in peripheral blood cells and tissues using quantitative real-time PCR and immunohistochemistry staining with anti-MCPyV large T-antigen antibody. Our findings revealed elevated amounts of MCPyV DNA in the peripheral blood cells of 2 of 3 patients affected by LCH with high-risk organ involvement (RO+) and absence of MCPyV DNA in the blood cells in all 12 LCH-RO- patients (P =.029). With lower viral loads (0.002-0.033 copies/cell), an elevated number of MCPyV DNA sequences was detected in 12 LCH tissues in comparison with control tissues obtained from patients with reactive lymphoid hyperplasia (0/5; P =.0007), skin diseases not related to LCH in children younger than 2 years (0/11; P =.0007), or dermatopathic lymphadenopathy (5/20; P =.0002). The data, including frequent but lower viral loads and low large-T antigen expression rate (2/13 LCH tissues), suggest that development of LCH as a reactive rather than a neoplastic process may be related to MCPyV infection.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)119-126
Number of pages8
JournalHuman Pathology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine


Dive into the research topics of 'Merkel cell polyomavirus DNA sequences in peripheral blood and tissues from patients with Langerhans cell histiocytosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this