A team at Stanford reported that 48% of young children with “liver failure of unknown etiology” had high viral loads of HHV-6 in their liver tissues. As a result, Stanford has now instituted routine evaluation for HHV-6 in all children who present with liver failure.
Both infectious and UV-inactivated HHV-6A activate endogenous retrovirus envelope protein – but so does selective stimulation of HHV-6A’s CD46 receptor. This “cross-talk” between HHV-6A and endogenous retrovirus appears to play an important role in the pathogenesis of inflammatory diseases.
Porcine CMV is an immunosuppressive virus that inhibits T-lymphocyte and macrophage immune functions, and like HHV-6A, it causes infertility. Porcine CMV infection also reduces the survival of pig xenotransplants.
The HHV-6 latency gene U94 has been found to block angiogenesis, but the mechanisms behind this phenomenon have been unclear. A team lead by Roberta Rizzo and Elisabetta Caselli in Italy shed light on this process, opening the door to new potential molecular targets to pursue in treating diseases marked by improper vascularization.
A group led by Mara Cirone in Italy found that HHV-6B blocks autophagy in HSB-2 cells. Both HSV-1 and CMV have proteins that block autophagy, and HHV-6B carries genes that are homologues of those encoding for CMV’s anti-autophagy protein. Her next step is to study the impact of both HHV-6A and HHV-6B on autophagy in neuronal cells.
Investigators at University of Washington studied multiple samples to develop an assay that can detect active infection in patients with chromosomally integrated HHV-6. Current quantitative PCR DNA testing cannot determine whether a ciHHV6 patient has active replication.
Marmosets infected with HHV-6A/B intranasally were initially asymptomatic but later developed significantly accelerated disease and died in a shorter period of time. HHV-6 proteins were found at high levels in the brain lesions.
A genomic analysis of samples from 141,431 Chinese women found a highly significant association between ciHHV-6 and a variant in the MLCI-MOV10L region. The MLC1 gene is involved in myeloid cell differentiation and the MOV10L1 gene may allow for more efficient integration during spermatogenesis.
A team of researchers at Kyoto University in Japan reported that rapid lymphocyte expansion is a good predictive factor for increased HHV-6 reactivation, as well as reduced CMV antigenemia. Patients with aplastic anemia as a primary disease had a 5 fold increased risk of HHV-6 reactivation.
Japanese investigators found that those who were administered mycophenolate mofetil along with a calcineurin inhibitor developed a much higher rate of infection: 12% in cord blood and 6% in other transplants.
A new method to assess antiviral activity against DNA viruses has been developed, using automated format and qPCR to measure the accumulation of viral DNA. Of the FDA approved drugs, foscarnet showed the highest selectivity index for HHV-6B.
Chinese investigators found a high prevalence of HHV-6 and Epstein Barr virus in the brain tissues of children with Rasmussen’s encephalitis but in none of the controls. There was a significant association between viral presence and brain atrophy, raising a strong suspicion for the involvement of both viruses.
In a study led by Manfred Marschall German investigators analyzed the potency of novel pyrrolopyridine-class compounds and found one that is highly active against CMV and HHV-6A. It works at an early stage of viral protein production, and differs from ganciclovir in mechanism.
Swedish investigators set out to uncover the pathways that HHV-6B might utilize in triggering MTLE. They found that HHV-6B infection altered expression of MAPK genes, suggesting a possible pathogenic mechanisms of HHV-6B in mesial temporal lobe epilepsy.
NINDS investigators found that children with febrile seizures have elevated inflammatory cytokines compared to healthy controls and children with fever. One of those cytokines, Il-1β, correlated with HHV-6 saliva viral load.