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Bone Marrow Transplant. 1999 Dec;24(11):1201-6.

Human herpesvirus 6 infection inhibits specific lymphocyte proliferation responses and is related to lymphocytopenia after allogeneic stem cell transplantation.

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Department of Hematology, Huddinge University Hospital, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm, Sweden.


Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) infection and the HHV-6-specific lymphocyte proliferation response were studied longitudinally in 24 patients in the first 3 months after allogeneic stem cell transplantation (allo-SCT). HHV-6 DNAemia was analyzed by a nested PCR method, and the HHV-6-specific lymphocyte proliferation responses were evaluated with a standard lymphocyte proliferation assay. All patients who responded to HHV-6 GS (variant A) antigen also responded to HHV-6 Z29 (variant B) antigen, and a response to HHV-6 Z29 antigen was detected more often than to HHV-6 GS antigen after allo-SCT (P = 0.048). HHV-6 DNA was detected in more patients after than before transplantation (P = 0.01) and in more patients with acute GVHD grades II-IV than those without (P = 0.009). An HHV-6-specific proliferative response was more often detected in patients without, than in those with persistent HHV-6 infection (three consecutively positive PBL samples; P < 0.001). Patients with persistent HHV-6 infection had lower lymphocyte counts from the 8th week after transplantation than those without (P = 0.03). No HHV-6-specific proliferation responses were detected in the three patients who developed HHV-6 disease. HHV-6 infection was associated with persistent lymphocytopenia and might thereby inhibit immune function.

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