Attempts were made to detect human parvovirus B19-DNA by in situ hybridisation and the polymerase chain reaction in placental and fetal tissues from a case of intrauterine fetal death. In the in situ hybridisation experiments radioactive and non-radioactive (labelled with 2-acetyl-aminofluorene, AAF) DNA probes were used. B19-DNA was detectable in paraffin wax embedded fetal tissue from the liver, heart, lung, brain and thymus. The resolution with the AAF-labelled probes was higher than with the radiolabelled DNA. Parvovirus B19 DNA sequences were also detected in these tissues by an enzymatic in vitro amplification technique--the polymerase chain reaction. Amplification of a B19-DNA sequence before detection increases the rapidity and sensitivity of detection. The rapid, specific, and sensitive analysis of parvovirus B19 in normal and diseased tissues using these techniques may contribute considerably to determining the role of this virus as a risk factor in the outcome of pregnancy.
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