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ciHHV-6 is a risk factor for angina pectoris

In an article published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Dr. Louis Flamand’s team has described a relationship between inherited chromosomally integrated HHV-6 (iciHHV-6) and the development of angina pectoris.

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HHV-6 Reactivation Tied to acute GvHD and Steroid Administration

A large-scale multiplex PCR assay developed by a team in Japan was used to study 13 DNA viruses in 105 allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplant patients. They found that patients treated with steroids had a significantly higher risk of HHV-6 reactivation (p=0.027), and that HHV-6 was the only virus tied to the onset of acute GVHD (p=0.016).

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HHV-6 can cause “idiopathic” pneumonia

A pivotal study, led by Michael Boeckh at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, has determined that occult infections contribute to 57% of all cases of “idiopathic” pneumonia syndrome (IPS), a condition previously assumed to be non-infectious. HHV-6 was the dominant pathogen representing 29% of cases.

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Pathogenic role for HHV-6B in in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy

Japanese investigators published findings suggesting that HHV-6B plays a pathogenic role in epilepsy by enhancing gene expression that induces neuroinflammation and sclerosis in the temporal lobe. HHV-6 DNA levels were significantly higher in the resected tissue of epilepsy patients with sclerosis compared to those without it.

HHV-6 induced kidney damage in drug hypersensitivity

A new case study suggests that HHV-6 might play a role in the multi-organ failure that often follows extreme cases of drug hypersensitivity. Although there have been many studies documenting HHV-6 viremia in drug hypersensitivity (DIHS/DRESS) cases, this is the first to examine an affected organ for signs of HHV-6 DNA and proteins. The mortality rate from severe drug hypersensitivity is approximately 10%, and death usually results from a late flare in symptoms and failure of one or more organ, typically the liver, kidney, lungs or heart. HHV-6 viremia occurs in the majority of extreme drug hypersensitivity cases (Pritchett 2012) but the reason for the disproportionate reactivation of HHV-6 is not understood. The case, which is presented by a Japanese …

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Joshua Hill awarded a 5-year grant to study HHV-6

Congratulations to Joshua Hill, MD, Acting Instructor at the University of Washington and Research Associate at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, who has won a K23 grant from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to study HHV-6 in lower respiratory tract disease and chromosomally integrated HHV-6 after stem cell transplantation (SCT).

Elevated levels of HHV-6 DNA in Alzheimer’s, linked to variants in antiviral genes

A group from Italy’s University of Bologna report that genetic defects in antimicrobial defense mechanisms can leave some individuals vulnerable to sub-clinical infections that lead to cognitive decline as they age. They found variations in specific antiviral genes that correlate with HHV-6 DNA levels in brain tissue and blood from patients with Alzheimer’s disease.

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Poor Outcome in ICU Patients with HHV-6 & CMV

Intensive care (ICU) patients with co-infections of HHV-6 and CMV are 7.5x more likely to die or have an extended stay in the hospital. On the other hand, single infections with either HHV-6 or CMV did not significantly impact outcome.

Multiplex PCR; HHV-6 loads higher with steroids

A large-scale multiplex PCR assay developed by a team in Japan was used to study 13 DNA viruses in 105 allogenic hematopoietic stem cell transplant patients. Their findings identify HHV-6 as the most common virus (found in 60% of all patients), and also as the only virus tied to the onset of acute GVHD (p=0.016). Interestingly, HHV-6 reactivation was associated with a more severe stage of skin but not liver or gut aGVHD (P=0.005). In addition, patients treated with steroids had a significantly higher risk of HHV-6 reactivation (p=0.027) and cord blood transplant patients were 10.4x more likely to reactivate with HHV-6. The authors looked at the association of HHV-6 reactivation in the absence of GVHD, and found that it …