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Pediatrics. 2008 Sep;122(3):513-20. doi: 10.1542/peds.2007-2838.

Chromosomal integration of human herpesvirus 6 is the major mode of congenital human herpesvirus 6 infection.

Author information

  • 1Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, 601 Elmwood Ave, Box 689, Rochester, NY 14642, USA. caroline_hall@urmc.rochester.edu

Abstract

OBJECTIVE:

We examined the frequency and characteristics of chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus 6 among congenitally infected children.

METHODS:

Infants with and without congenital human herpesvirus 6 infection were prospectively monitored. Cord blood mononuclear cell, peripheral blood mononuclear cell, saliva, urine, and hair follicle samples were examined for human herpesvirus 6 DNA. Human herpesvirus 6 RNA, serum antibody, and chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus 6 levels were also assessed.

RESULTS:

Among 85 infants, 43 had congenital infections and 42 had postnatal infections. Most congenital infections (86%) resulted from chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus 6; 6 infants (14%) had transplacental infections. Children with chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus 6 had high viral loads in all sites (mean: 5-6 log(10) genomic copies per mug of cellular DNA); among children with transplacental infection or postnatal infection, human herpesvirus 6 DNA was absent in hair samples and inconsistent in other samples, and viral loads were significantly lower. One parent of each child with chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus 6 who had parental hair samples tested had hair containing human herpesvirus 6 DNA. Variant A caused 32% of chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus 6 infections, compared with 2% of postnatal infections. Replicating human herpesvirus 6 was detected only among chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus 6 samples (8% of cord blood mononuclear cells and peripheral blood mononuclear cells). Cord blood human herpesvirus 6 antibody levels were similar among children with chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus 6, transplacental infection, and postnatal infection and between children with maternal and paternal chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus 6 transmission.

CONCLUSIONS:

Human herpesvirus 6 congenital infection results primarily from chromosomally integrated virus which is passed through the germ-line. Infants with chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus 6 had high viral loads in all specimens, produced human herpesvirus 6 antibody, and mRNA. The clinical relevance needs study as 1 of 116 newborns may have chromosomally integrated human herpesvirus 6 blood specimens.

PMID:
18762520
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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