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It has been suggested that Varicella-Zoster virus (VZV) may play a role in the pathogenesis of giant cell arteritis (GCA). We therefore used both in situ hybridisation and in situ Polymerase Chain Reaction amplification techniques in an attempt to identify VZV DNA in 15 temporal arteries from histologically proven GCA. We did not detect evidence of VZV DNA in the arteries of any of these subjects, nor in temporal arteries obtained from seven normal control subjects. VZV was detected, however, in neurons in a human trigeminal ganglion. While sampling variation and sensitivity issues are likely to play a role in the discrepancies observed in different studies of VZV in GCA, this study does not provide further support for the notion that VZV is playing a significant part in causing GCA.


Journal article


J Neurol Sci

Publication Date





27 - 29


DNA, Viral, Giant Cell Arteritis, Herpesvirus 3, Human, Humans, Temporal Arteries