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HHV-6 antibody level found to correlate with relapse and progression in MS patients

A new article published in PLoS One shows a significant correlation between elevated HHV-6A/HHV-6B antibody titers and relapses or progression of multiple sclerosis.  On the other hand, MS patients with low titers were far more likely to stay in remission. The Spanish laboratory, run by Dr. Roberto Alvarez-Lafuente, analyzed the titers of IgG and IgM antibodies against HHV-6A and HHV-6B in over 300 MS patients treated with three standard MS treatments and followed them for two years.  Treatments included IFN-beta, glatiramer acetate, and natalizumab.  READ MORE

HHV-6 reactivation predicts graft failure in cord blood transplant patients

A group from Nantes, France, has published a study that demonstrates HHV-6 reactivation before engraftment to be strongly predictive of graft failure in adult patients following double umbilical cord blood allogeneic stem cell transplantation.  In multivariate analysis, HHV6 reactivation during aplasia, younger recipient age, and lower HLA matching between the 2 units were the three factors independently associated with graft failure in this study.  READ MORE

Two types of HHV-6 positivity in CNS demyelinating disease

A new study from the University Central Hospital of Helsinki suggests that HHV-6 may have a role in progressive neurological diseases via long-term infection with demyelination.  The group found that HHV-6 specific oligoclonal bands (OCBs) are found not only in MS patients, but also in other demyelinating diseases such as clinically isolated syndrome and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis. Further, their findings suggest that patients with HHV-6 specific OCBs may form a group of patients distinguishable from others with the disease.  The article, published in the Journal of Clinical Virology, surveyed a cohort of 79 patients with oligoclonal bands (OCBs) in the CSF, and revealed that patients with HHV-6-reactive OCBs (21% of the total) were significantly younger and harbored significantly more IgG-OCBs in comparison to patients without HHV-6-reactive OCBs. Both HHV-6A and HHV-6B specific OCBs were found.  READ MORE

Inhibition of IL-2 gene expression by HHV-6 U54

Dr. Louis Flamand’s laboratory in Quebec, Canada, has published an article with evidence that points toward a detailed mechanism for inhibition of IL-2 gene expression by HHV-6. This new study represents the closing chapter on a story that started twenty years ago when Flamand et al. reported on the capacity of HHV-6A to inhibit  interleukin-2 (IL-2) synthesis in CD4+ lymphocytes (the primary cellular targets for HHV-6). At that time, it was postulated that viral structural components could be responsible for this effect.  READ MORE