The high prevalence of herpes simplex virus type 1 DNA in human trigeminal ganglia is not a function of age or gender.
ABSTRACT The purpose of this study was to determine the presence and copy numbers of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1) DNA in human trigeminal ganglia (TG) with respect to age, gender, and postmortem interval (PMI). Human TG (n = 174, obtained from the Oregon Brain Bank, with data on age, gender, and PMI) were analyzed for HSV-1 DNA copies (HSV-1 DNA polymerase gene) by using real-time PCR. We found that 89.1% (131/147) of subjects and 90.1% (155/174) of TG contained HSV-1 DNA. The copy numbers of HSV-1 DNA in the positives ranged from very high (>10(6)) to very low (5). These data confirm and strengthen our previous findings that subjects were positive for HSV-1 DNA in tears (46/50; 92%) and saliva (47/50; 94%). These TG data and tear and saliva data demonstrated considerable variability in copy numbers of HSV-1 DNA per subject. Statistical analysis showed no significant relationship between gender and copy number, age and copy number, or PMI and copy number for each pair of variables. A factorial analysis of gender, age, and PMI with respect to copy number also showed no statistical significance. This is the first study that provides statistical analysis that documents that the prevalence of HSV-1 DNA in the human TG is not a function of either gender or age.