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Clin Diagn Lab Immunol. 2002 Mar;9(2):388-93.

Neutralizing antibody responses to human herpesviruses 6 and 7 do not cross-react with each other, and maternal neutralizing antibodies contribute to sequential infection with these viruses in childhood.

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  • 1Department of Virology, Okayama University Graduate School of Medicine and Dentistry, Okayama, Japan. mariko@md.okayama-u.ac.jp


Seroprevalence of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and HHV-7 infections is very high throughout the world, and almost all people are exposed first to HHV-6 and second to HHV-7 in their childhood. However, it is not clear whether the neutralizing (NT) antibody response between each virus is cross-reactive or not. To elucidate the NT antibody response between each virus, 55 serum samples from an adult group (subjects 22 to 88 years old) and 60 serum samples from a young group (subjects 2 to 18 years old) were examined by a dot blot method for detecting viral late antigen. Thirty-nine serum samples obtained from cord bloods and a few serum samples obtained from pediatric patients with exanthem subitum were also examined to assess the maternal transferred NT antibodies against each virus. The NT antibody titers against HHV-7 in the adult group remained high throughout all the individuals, and none were negative. Those against HHV-6 were high values in the young group but low values, including negative values (three samples), in the adult group. These results suggested that the NT antibody response to either HHV-6 or HHV-7 in each individual was specific to each virus and did not cross-react with each other. In the adult group, the NT antibody response to HHV-6 decreased, while that to HHV-7 remained high throughout all the individuals. Maternal transferred NT antibody titers against HHV-7 were higher and remained longer after birth than those of HHV-6, and these findings were in accord with the clinical observation that HHV-6 infection usually occurs earlier than HHV-7 infection.

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