• digoxigenin-tailed oligonucleotide probe: cytomegalovirus;
  • opportunistic infections;
  • in situ hybridization

Abstract: A non-isotopic in situ hybridizaiton procedure was used to detect cytomeglavirus (CMV sequences within routinely fixed tissue. A digoxigenin-tailed oligonucletoide was hybridized to sections of specimens obtianed at autopsy from 2 patients with CMV infection. Hybrids wer revealed by an alkaline phosphatase-conjugated anti-digoxigenin antibody. Serila sections were also assayed for the presence of CMV by in situ hybridizaiotn with a biotin-labelled cDNA probe and by immunohistochemistry and routinenly stained for morphological evaluation. Results show that the two in situ hybridization procedures are equally sensitive but superior to the immunohistochemical detection of the viral antigen. Most cells positive for CMV DNA had the cytopathological features characteristic of CMV infection. A minor population of infected cells lacking morphological changes was also found. We recommend the routine application of the oligoncucleotied-based assay because it is specific, easy and less expensive than other similar procedures.