Karolinska Institute researchers developed a novel serological assay to determine that individuals with antibodies to HHV-6A early proteins are more likely to develop MS. HHV-6A antibodies were the highest in the presence of elevated EBV antibodies, suggesting that the two viruses could jointly contribute to the development of MS.
Investigators propose that the induction of endoplasmic reticulum stress, likely exacerbated by autophagy inhibition, could contribute to the immune suppression induced by HHV-6B in exanthem subitem patients.
A review of post-transplant cases found that the incidence of HHV-6 myelitis was 4.1%; symptoms of pruritus without rash, pain, numbness, dysuria and constipation are potential signs.
Japanese investigators evaluated cytokines and chemokines in the CSF and plasma in HHV-6 encephalitis patients with good and poor prognoses. They found IL-6, IL-7, MCP-1 to be elevated one week before onset, suggesting that these cytokines may be effective targets for intervention.
MIT examined transcription across tens of thousands of individual cells in both Alzheimer’s and healthy brains and found APOE strongly upregulated in the microglia and perturbation in myelination-related processes in multiple cell types including oligodendrocytes.
The cellular housekeeping function of autophagy may play a role in Alzheimer’s as dysfunction could result in the accumulation of amyloid. HHV-6A, HHV-6B and HSV1 can infect central nervous system cells and dysregulate autophagy.
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.
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.
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.
Investigators at Mt Sinai used “big data” models to determine that the genes involved with fighting Alzheimer’s are the same ones that fight virus. They found HHV-6A and HHV-7 to be more abundant in Alzheimer’s brains, and singled out HHV6-A as a key modulator of the genes involved in amyloidosis and neuronal death.
Researchers at Harvard studied how neurons responded to the presence of herpesviruses HSV1 and HHV-6, and found that they rapidly induce amyloid plaque production within 24 to 48 hours.
The autopsy of an infant with HHV-6B encephalitis showed a 4-5 fold increase in the viral load of the hippocampus compared to other parts of the brain. Neurons, oligodendrocytes and vascular endothelial cells were infected, but not astrocytes or microglia.
Investigators in Japan studied 145 patients who developed HHV-6 encephalitis. At 100 days after transplantation, the overall survival rate was just 58.3%, compared with 80.5% for patients who did not develop encephalitis. High-dose antiviral therapy was shown to mitigate high mortality rates in these patients.
A group at University of Rochester demonstrated that the HHV-6A latency gene, U94, inhibits migration of cells involved in myelin repair. Inefficient myelin repair is associated with progression MS, and the ability of HHV-6A to impede this process suggests that it could be involved in the progression of MS, and raises questions about the virus’s role in other chronic demyelinating diseases.
Retrospective analysis of transplant patients revealed that low serum sodium levels are associated with HHV-6 encephalitis, but not HHV-6 myelitis. Low sodium is a possible marker for HHV-6 encephalitis post-transplantation.
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