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Am J Hematol. 2001 Jul;67(3):200-5.

Detection of human herpesvirus 6 and JC virus in progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy complicating follicular lymphoma.

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Department of Medicine, Kochi Medical School, Kochi, Japan.


Progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy (PML), a demyelinating infectious disease caused by JC virus (JCV), occurs almost exclusively in immunocompromised patients usually with malignant diseases. We report here a Japanese female with follicular lymphoma who subsequently developed PML. In addition to JCV, human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) was detected in the affected brain lesions of the patient by polymerase chain reaction and by in situ hybridization. HHV-6, recognized as a neurotropic virus, is known to be reactivated during immunosuppression and can cause fatal complications such as encephalitis/encephalopathy. It is likely that impaired immunity associated with lymphoma and the additional immunosuppression following cytopenia-inducing chemotherapies predisposed the patient to reactivated HHV-6 infection. Although it remains to be clarified whether HHV-6 plays an important role as a co-agent with JCV in causing demyelination of the brain, our observation alerts physicians to the possible association of HHV-6 with the pathogenesis of PML.

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