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J Clin Virol. 2009 Sep;46(1):33-6. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2009.05.020. Epub 2009 Jun 7.

Different expression of human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) load in whole blood may have a significant impact on the diagnosis of active infection.

Author information

1
UPMC Univ Paris 06, UPRES EA 2387, 83 Boulevard de l'Hôpital, Paris, F-75013 France. agnes.gautheret@psl.aphp.fr

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Viral load in whole blood is the main virological marker for assessing HHV-6 infection and is used as an indication to begin antiviral therapy. Results are usually expressed as the number of genomic equivalent copies (gec) per mL of blood, although HHV-6 DNA in blood is mainly localized in lymphocytes and polymorphonuclear leukocytes.

OBJECTIVES:

Since leukocyte counts vary in immunocompromised patients, especially in stem cell transplant recipients, the aim of this study was to compare HHV-6 load expressed as gec per mL with load expressed as gec per million cells (mc), using quantitative real-time PCR for HHV-6 and cell DNA.

STUDY DESIGN:

194 blood samples from 101 patients were analyzed. Leukocyte count was obtained for 142 samples.

RESULTS:

The two modes of expression were incompletely correlated (p<0.0001; R(2)=0.732). To understand this relative discrepancy, samples were classified according to hematological criteria (normal leukocyte count, leukopenia, agranulocytosis, lymphopenia). The expression modes were correlated in all cases except for agranulocytosis (p=0.21; R(2)=0.087). Moreover, the median of ratio between gec per mc and gec per mL ranged from 0.5 when leukocyte count was normal, to 8.2 in cases of agranulocytosis. HHV-6 load follow-up suggested that in agranulocytosis expressing results as gec per mc tended to provide a more representative result.

CONCLUSIONS:

The different expression of HHV-6 load in whole blood, as either gec per mL or gec per mc resulted in different estimations of infection in the case of agranulocytosis. In this situation, the latter mode of expression is preferred.

PMID:
19505844
DOI:
10.1016/j.jcv.2009.05.020
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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