RESEARCH SUPPORT, NON-U.S. GOV'T
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Varicella-zoster virus distribution in Ramsay Hunt syndrome revealed by polymerase chain reaction.

The pathogenesis of facial nerve paralysis and vestibulo-cochlear dysfunction of Ramsay Hunt syndrome remains unclear as varicella-zoster virus (VZV) has not been demonstrated in the lesions. Using the polymerase chain reaction, we detected VZV genomes not only in the vesicles on the auricles or oral cavity but also in the facial nerve sheath, middle ear mucosa and cerebrospinal fluid from patients with Ramsay Hunt syndrome. The VZV genome was undetectable in the same kinds of clinical samples obtained from control patients with facial nerve paralysis of other etiologies. The results indicated that VZV spreads widely in the neural components, mucocutaneous tissue and cerebrospinal fluid. The present study will facilitate better understanding of the pathogenesis of facial nerve paralysis, vertigo, hearing impairment and other cranial nerve dysfunction of Ramsay Hunt syndrome.

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