By means of RT-PCR, a portion of measles virus (MV) mRNA encoding nucleoprotein (NP) could be detected in 11 (18%) of 61 brain tissue samples obtained from administrative autopsy cases, who apparently had not suffered from subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE)-like central nervous system disorders. Most of the brain-derived NP sequences showed significant asynonymous nucleotide substitutions when compared with wild-type MV isolates and SSPE virus. Our present results suggest that MV commonly persists in the human brain without causing apparent clinical symptoms, probably due to decreased virus replication.


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