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Microbiol Immunol. 1992;36(5):495-506.

IgM neutralizing antibody responses to human herpesvirus-6 in patients with exanthem subitum or organ transplantation.

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Department of Pediatrics, Fujita Health University School of Medicine, Aichi, Japan.


The assay for detecting IgM neutralizing (NT) antibody activity to human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) was developed by using pretreatment of blood sample with staphylococcal protein A. The activity was mostly present in IgM fractions of serum but not in IgA fractions separated by ultracentrifugation. The assay was used for seroepidemiological studies for HHV-6 infection. In primary HHV-6 infection, IgM NT antibodies appeared 5 to 7 days after onset of exanthem subitum, reached maximum titers at 2 to 3 weeks, and tended to decline to undetectable levels after 2 months. In contrast, reactivation of HHV-6 observed in organ transplants showed somewhat greater degree of IgM NT antibody responses that persisted for 2 to 3 months and became undetectable 5 to 6 months after transplantation. The level and persistence of NT antibody titers measured by the conventional method was generally greater than those of the IgM titers. The prevalence of the IgM NT antibodies was examined in healthy individuals. The antibody was first detected at 4 to 7 months of age (5%), reached maximum level at 8 to 11 months (40%), and was detectable by 4 to 6 years (17%). A few (4 to 5%) of adolescents and adults were positive for the antibody.

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