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Cytometry. 2000 Jun 1;40(2):135-40.

Susceptibility of human herpesvirus 6 to antiviral compounds by flow cytometry analysis.

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Laboratoire de Virologie, CERVI, Groupe Hospitalier Pitié-Salpétrière, Paris, France.



The emergence of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) as a human pathogen led to the possibility of specific therapy against HHV-6 and the development of standardized susceptibility assays of HHV-6 to antivirals.


We have developed a flow cytometry method to analyze the multiplication of the HST strain of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) variant B in vitro using monoclonal antibodies specific to virus proteins. This method was subsequently used to determine the sensitivity of HST multiplication in MT4 cells to four antiviral compounds of three different classes: acyclovir (ACV) and ganciclovir (GCV), two acyclic guanosine analogs; cedofovir (CDV), an acyclic nucleoside phosphonate; and phosphonoformic acid (PFA), a pyrophosphate analog.


The 50% inhibitory concentrations (IC(50)) of ACV, GCV, CDV, and PFA determined by flow cytometry assay were 25.3, 6.4, 0.95, and 6.0 microM, respectively (5.7, 1.6, 0.3, and 1.8 microg/ml, respectively). These data together with the results of cytotoxicity assays confirmed the high efficiency and selectivity of CDV and PFA against HHV-6 B in vitro, suggested by previous results.


Our flow cytometric assay appeared as a reproducible specific method to characterize HHV-6 susceptibility to antiviral compounds. It can be considered as a convenient alternative to the other immunologic and DNA hybridization assays used for that purpose.

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