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J Clin Virol. 2010 May;48(1):55-7. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2010.02.007. Epub 2010 Mar 7.

Diagnostic assays for active infection with human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6).

Author information

1
Department of Pediatrics, University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, NY 14642, United States. mary_caserta@urmc.rochester.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) causes ubiquitous infection in early childhood with lifelong latency or persistence. Reactivation of HHV-6 has been associated with multiple diseases including encephalitis. Chromosomal integration of HHV-6 also occurs. Previous studies have suggested that the detection of HHV-6 DNA in plasma is an accurate marker of active viral replication.

OBJECTIVE:

We sought to determine whether PCR assays on plasma could correctly differentiate between primary HHV-6 infection, chromosomal integration of HHV-6 and latent HHV-6 infection.

STUDY DESIGN:

We performed qualitative PCR, real-time quantitative PCR (RQ-PCR), and reverse-transcriptase PCR (RT-PCR) assays on samples of peripheral and cord blood mononuclear cells, as well as plasma, from groups of subjects with well defined HHV-6 infection, including subjects with chromosomally integrated HHV-6.

RESULTS AND CONCLUSIONS:

The detection of HHV-6 DNA in plasma was 92% sensitive compared to viral isolation for the identification of primary infection with HHV-6. All plasma samples from infants with chromosomally integrated HHV-6 had HHV-6 DNA detectable in plasma while only 5.6% were positive by RT-PCR. The specificity of plasma PCR for active replication of HHV-6 was 84% compared to viral culture while the specificity of RT-PCR was 98%. Our results demonstrate that qualitative or quantitative PCR of plasma is insufficient to distinguish between active viral replication and chromosomal integration with HHV-6. We found a higher specificity of RT-PCR performed on PBMC samples compared to PCR or RQ-PCR performed on plasma when evaluating samples for active HHV-6 replication.

PMID:
20211581
PMCID:
PMC2855742
DOI:
10.1016/j.jcv.2010.02.007
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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