Herpes simplex virus and Meniere's disease

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Objective/Hypothesis: This study was designed to investigate the hypothesis that Meniere's disease is associated with herpes simplex virus (HSV) reactivation in the vestibular ganglion. Study Design: Case control study. Methods: Vestibular ganglia were obtained from archival surgical pathology specimens from patients undergoing vestibular neurectomy for vertigo caused by Meniere's disease. All patients met criteria for classification as definite Meniere's disease according to American Academy of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery (AAO-HNS) criteria. Control specimens were obtained from willed body donors. Sections from each ganglion were studied for prevalence of viral DNA using a nested polymerase chain reaction designed to amplify the HSV DNA polymerase gene. Quantitative analysis determined the number of viral copies per standard unit of ganglionic DNA. Results: HSV DNA was more prevalent in paraffin embedded ganglia from patients with Meniere's disease (100%) than in fresh-frozen control ganglia (81%) (P = .02). Fixation and paraffin embedding substantially reduced recovery of HSV virus in selected control specimens. Quantitative analysis found no correlation between viral copy number in control ganglia processed frozen versus formalin fixed and paraffin embedded. Conclusions: HSV is more commonly isolated from vestibular ganglia of patients with Meniere's disease than the general population. The routine histologic preparation of formalin fixation and paraffin embedding significantly altered the quantity of virus detected though not in a predictable manner. The study provides supportive evidence for a viral etiology in Meniere's disease.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1431-1438
Number of pages8
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2003


  • Herpes simplex virus
  • Meniere's disease
  • Quantitative PCR
  • Virus reactivation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Otorhinolaryngology


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