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Wisconsin Viral Research Group:
Archived Patient and Control Specimens

WVRG maintains a large and growing biorepository of blood, serum and tissue specimens from a wide range of patient populations, including multiple sclerosis, stem cell and bone marrow transplant recipients, patients with chronic fatigue syndrome, and recipients of liver transplants.

WVRG has been in operation since August 1996 specializing in the diagnosis and study of persistent viral infections and their role in chronic disease.

Archived Patient Samples

As part of its daily operation, WVRG receives 5 to 10 diagnostic specimens per week from physicians specializing in the care of patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) and other chronic diseases. These blood and CSF samples are submitted for the detection of active human herpesvirus six (HHV-6), human cytomegalovirus (HCMV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and enterovirus infections by nested PCR, culture and antigenemia staining. In addition to its clinical diagnostic activities, WVRG is keenly interested in pursuing research projects dealing with the pathogenesis of virally associated chronic diseases. To this end. a portion of every patient specimen received is appropriately stored for future use in research protocols. Because we have good and longstanding relationships with the physicians who use our diagnostic services, we have acquired longitudinal specimens from a large number of patients. Examples of the types of data obtained are shown in the figures below.

cfs study

biorepository-ms

The top figure shows the results of analysis of blood samples from a patient with severe chronic fatigue syndrome with significant central nervous system involvement. The patient was intermittently positive for active HHV-6 infection over as period of three years. The bottom figure shows similar data from the analysis of blood samples from a patient with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis. The patient was intermittently positive for active HHV-6 infection for approximately one year.

A summary of the specimens in our archives is presented below.

Cerebrospinal Fluid (CSF)

  • Matched CSF and plasma samples from 41 CFS patients (obtained within three days of each other) [stored at 70oC]
  • Matched CSF and plasma samples from 18 healthy control subjects [stored at 70oC]
  • Matched CSF and serum samples from 33 patients with relapsing-remitting MS [stored at 30oC]
  • 20 CSF samples from patients with various inflammatory diseases of the central nervous system (CNS) [stored at 70oC]
  • More than 200 CSF samples from CFS patients [stored at 30oC]

Frozen Peripheral Blood Leukocytes (PBL)

Note: each PBL sample consists of density gradient purified PBL from one milliliter of blood. All samples are stored at 70oC.

  • Approximately 6000 PBL samples from divergent patient populations including CFS, MS, HIV disease, bone marrow/stem cell transplant patients, liver transplant patients and healthy controls. At least 50% of these samples are from CFS patients The purified PBL were resuspended in RPMI 1640 medium with 10% fetal calf serum and 10% dimethyl sulphoxide (DMSO) and slow frozen to 70oC. These samples include PBL from:
  • 30 patients with relapsing-remitting MS obtained at the time of disease relapse and from the same patients after they had returned to clinical baseline.
  • 41 patients with both relapsing-remitting and secondary progressive MS (Knox et al. Clin Infect Dis 31:894-903; 2000)
  • 80 liver transplant patients sampled at weekly intervals for 6 weeks after transplant (Rogers et al. Transplantation 69:2566-2573; 2000)
  • Approximately 900 PBL samples stored as cell pellets. These samples are predominantly from CFS patients.

Sera and Plasma Samples

Note: each sample consists of one to two milliliters of serum or plasma. The vast majority of these samples are stored at 20oC to 30oC. The remaining samples are stored either at 70oC or at 2oC.

  • 50 sera from healthy control subjects. These were purchased from Analytical Biological Services, Inc.; Wilmington, Delaware. They are 50% male and 50% female and were obtained from healthy young adults. They are stored in aliquots at 70oC.
  • Approximately 6,000 serum or plasma samples from a wide variety of patient populations including CFS, MS, HIV disease, bone marrow/stem cell transplant patients and liver transplant patients. Specifically these samples include serum or plasma samples from all of the patients described in the section above "Frozen Peripheral Blood Leukocytes."