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Volume 47, Number 5, October 2014

Incidence of human herpesvirus 6 in clinical samples from Swedish patients with demyelinating diseases 

Rasmus Gustafsson, Renate Reitsma, Annelie Strålfors, Andreas Lindholm, Rayomand Press, Anna Fogdell-Hahn

Received: January 6, 2012    Revised: March 8, 2013    Accepted: March 27, 2013   


Background and purpose: 

Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) has been reported to be associated with multiple sclerosis (MS) and Guillain–Barré syndrome (GBS). 



We analyzed cell-free HHV-6 DNA as an indication of active infection in the peripheral blood and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of Swedish patients with GBS, patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy, treatment-naïve patients with possible MS, interferon-β treated MS patients [with or without neutralizing antibodies (NAbs)], and control patients with headache. 



One of 14 GBS patients and one of eight patients with chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyradiculoneuropathy were positive for HHV-6 DNA in serum. Of the 27 treatment-naïve possible MS patients, two were positive in plasma and one in CSF. HHV-6 DNA was detected in the serum of three of 79 NAb+ patients and one of 102 NAb-interferon-β treated MS patients. HHV-6 DNA could not be detected in the plasma or CSF of any of the 33 controls, although the differences were not statistically significant. 



Our results do not suggest active HHV-6 infection to be a common phenomenon in any of the patient groups studied. 


Key words:

CIDP, Guillain–Barré syndrome, HHV-6, IFNβ, Multiple sclerosis, NAb