The polymerase chain reaction (PCR), using three primer pairs in the pol, tax, and env regions of the HTLV-I genome, was unable to detect HTLV-I in the blood samples of 54 caucasian subjects with multiple sclerosis who were seronegative for HTLV-I/II. Seventeen HTLV-I/II seropositive (by ELISA and Western blot) subjects used as positive controls were positive with the three primer pairs. The PCR was negative in 47 healthy HTLV-I/II seronegative (by ELISA) subjects at low risk of HTLV-I infection used as negative controls. These results suggest that there is no association between the occurrence of HTLV-I sequences and the development of multiple sclerosis.
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