The cardiology clinic at the Campus Benjamin Franklin, Charité – University Medicine Berlin is recognized as leading center for using state-of-the art mRNA analysis to diagnose active infections the biopsy tissue of myocarditis and heart failure patients.
Pitt Niehusmann has completed the largest study to date on the question of whether viruses play a role in refractory mesial temporal lobe epilepsy (MTLE), with an astonishing 346 samples analyzed. We asked Pitt a few questions about his work, which he will now continue at the University of Oslo, where he serves as a Senior Consultant Neuropathologist.
The December 2014 issue of Current Opinions in Virology features a "Special Section on Roseoloviruses." Top experts in the field contributed a set of 14 reviews that span a wide range of critical topics discussed at the recent June 2014 NIH-sponsored workshop “Roseoloviruses: Unmet needs and research priorities.”
Dr. Flamand, a professor and molecular virologist at Université Laval in Quebec city, has written an editorial calling for screening of organ donors for ciHHV-6 status and careful monitoring of recipients of ciHHV-6 donor tissues for signs of active HHV-6 infection and HHV-6 antigen-induced immune rejection. Flamand also questions whether solid organs and stem cells derived from persons with ciHHV-6 should be used in transplantation.
The University of Washington and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center are at the forefront of studying the role of HHV-6 and ciHHV-6 in stem cell transplant patients. We asked their view on the implications immunocompromised patients with integrated HHV-6A reactivating with their own inherited virus.
Numerous case reports and studies have now tied HHV-6 to myocarditis and cardiomyopathies. To further investigate this relationship, investigators from one of the top cardiology clinics in Europe performed a study to determine the outcome of patients discovered to have HHV-6 in their cardiac tissue during the initial biopsy screen.
A team of Chinese investigators led by Dr. Jin-Mei Li at West China Hospital has identified a possible synergy between a polymorphism of Apolipoprotein E (ApoE) and HHV-6B infection, resulting in a higher viral load and seizure frequency in these patients.
Investigators at the University of Bonn Medical Center in Germany have screened 346 fresh-frozen brain tissue resections from temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE) patients for all nine herpesviruses as well as for RNA viruses including Paramyxovirinae, Phleboviruses, Enteroviruses, and Flavivirus, using qPCR. HHV-6B was the only virus identified.
A sequencing study led by Ursula Gompels of London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine, found that 95% (19/21) of Czech ciHHV-6 malignancy and inflammatory disease patients had ciHHV6A while 65% (13/20) of a German myocarditis cohort had ciHHV-6B. The authors propose that this divergence suggests different disease links for the two viruses.
The HHV-6 Foundation in a non-profit entity founded to encourage scientific exchange between investigators and to provide pilot grants for promising scientific and clinical research on the under- appreciated viruses HHV-6A and HHV-6B. The Foundation sponsors international conferences and supports scientists and clinicians seeking to clarify the role of the two HHV-6 viruses in disease. Since the HHV-6A and HHV-6B can smolder in the brain and other organs without circulating in the peripheral blood or plasma, identifying chronic infection is a challenge.
ciHHV-6 Patient Registry
Except for transplant patients, HHV-6 plasma DNA tests are rarely positive. Any patient testing positive should rule out chromosomally integrated HHV-6, a condition that may be associated with increased HHV-6 reactivation.