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Eur Neurol. 2000;43(3):170-3.

Detection of human herpesvirus 6 variant A in peripheral blood mononuclear cells from multiple sclerosis patients.

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Department of Neurology, Catholic University of Korea, Seoul, South Korea.


Several authors report that human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) variants have different epidemiologies, in vivo tropism and pathogenic potentials. However, it is not well known what pathogenic roles its neurotropism might have in the variant type. As some active plaques of multiple sclerosis (MS) brain tissue harbor HHV-6 DNA divergent from the prototype virus, the possibility that the variant strain may play a role in the pathogenesis of MS has been suggested. Therefore, we tried to investigate the role of HHV-6 variants in the pathogenesis of MS. As HHV-6 is predominantly a T-cell-tropic virus, we examined HHV-6 DNA sequences in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) from 34 MS patients, 6 with idiopathic transverse myelitis, 2 with optic neuritis and 20 healthy controls. Nested polymerase chain reaction was used to detect the HHV-6 genome. To discern HHV-6 variants A and B, amplification products were digested by restriction enzyme. We found that 7 of 34 MS patients and 2 of 6 patients with idiopathic transverse myelitis had the HHV-6 genome. On the contrary, there was no HHV-6 genome in the control group. All genomic sequences were of HHV-6 variant A (HHV-6A). Our results suggest that the detection of HHV-6A in the PBMC of patients with MS may raise the possibility of a relationship between latent HHV-6A infection and the pathogenesis of MS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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