Detection of human herpes virus 8 DNA and sequence polymorphism in classical, epidemic, and iatrogenic Kaposi's sarcoma in South Africa

Engelbrecht S. ; Treurnicht F.K. ; Schneider J.W. ; Jordaan H.F. ; Steytler J.G. ; Wranz P.A.B. ; Van Rensburg E.J. (1997)


The aetiology and detection of human herpes virus type 8 (HHV-8) DNA sequences in Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) is a matter of intense investigation. We report on the detection of HHV-8 DNA and sequence polymorphism in different clinicopathological subtypes of cutaneous KS samples from South Africa. The diagnosis was confirmed by histological examination in all cases. Six patients had classic KS (CKS), 3 epidemic KS (EKS), and 3 iatrogenic KS (IKS). A nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay was used to detect HHV-8 DNA in cell lysates, prepared from formalin fixed, paraffin embedded sections. We investigated polymorphism in the HHV-8 DNA using single-stranded conformational polymorphism (SSCP) analysis on the PCR products, followed by direct sequencing. HHV-8 DNA was detected in all the patients with KS, irrespective of the clinicopathological subtype. Direct sequencing was performed on 5 selected cases and showed single base pair substitutions in all. The spectrum of mutations was similar to those described previously. No correlation was found between the different types of KS and sequence variation. The results support the hypothesis that HHV-8 is strongly associated with different clinicopathological subtypes of KS and confirm the occurrence of HHV-8 in patients with CKS, EKS, and IKS in South Africa.

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