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Clin Infect Dis. 1998 Mar;26(3):702-7.

Human herpesvirus-6 infection after liver transplantation.

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  • 1Department of Virology, Helsinki University Central Hospital, Finland.


A diagnosis of posttransplantation human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) infection was established for eight adult recipients among a liver transplantation patient population of 121. The diagnosis was based on serology and demonstration of HHV-6 specific antigens in liver biopsy specimens with use of monoclonal antibodies and immunoperoxidase staining. A significant graft dysfunction was recorded in association with serodiagnosis. HHV-6 early antigens, as well as HHV-6 variant B antigens, were detected retrospectively in all six available liver biopsy specimens. Histologic examination of biopsy specimens demonstrated acute rejection in 5 of the 8 patients, and 3 patients had portal lymphocyte infiltration. In five cases cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection was associated with HHV-6 infection; in four cases CMV antigens were also detected in the biopsy specimens. Two patients who had pure HHV-6 infection without CMV infection or rejection had significantly impaired graft function, with a positive antigen-detection test. Thus, HHV-6 may infect the liver allograft and cause graft dysfunction and may possibly be associated with rejection and/or CMV infection.

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