Journal Article

Human Herpesvirus 6 and Multiple Sclerosis: Systemic Active Infections in Patients with Early Disease

Konstance K. Knox, Joseph H. Brewer, James M. Henry, Daniel J. Harrington and Donald R. Carrigan

in Clinical Infectious Diseases

Published on behalf of Infectious Diseases Society of America

Volume 31, issue 4, pages 894-903
Published in print October 2000 | ISSN: 1058-4838
Published online October 2000 | e-ISSN: 1537-6591 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1086/318141
Human Herpesvirus 6 and Multiple Sclerosis: Systemic Active Infections in Patients with Early Disease

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By means of immunohistochemical staining, cells actively infected with human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) were found in central nervous system tissues from 8 (73%) of 11 patients with definite multiple sclerosis (MS). Interestingly, 17 (90%) of 19 tissue sections showing active demyelination were positive for HHV-6-infected cells compared with only 3 (13%) of 23 tissue sections free of active disease (P < .0001). Central nervous system tissues from 2 of 28 normal persons and patients with other inflammatory demyelinative diseases were positive for HHV-6-infected cells (P < .0001), and the 2 positive cases were diagnosed as having HHV-6 leukoencephalitis. By use of a rapid culture assay, blood samples from 22 (54%) of 41 patients with definite MS were found to contain active HHV-6 infections, compared with 0 of 61 normal controls (P < .0001). No significant difference was found between HHV-6 viremia-positive and HHV-6 viremia-negative MS patients with respect to type of disease (relapsing/remitting or progressive). In contrast, patients with active HHV-6 viremia were significantly younger and had shorter durations of disease than did HHV-6 viremia-negative patients.

Journal Article.  6967 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Infectious Diseases ; Immunology ; Public Health and Epidemiology ; Microbiology

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