Human herpesvirus 6 and multiple sclerosis: Systemic active infections in patients with early disease

Konstance K. Knox, Joseph H. Brewer, James M. Henry, Daniel J. Harrington, Donald R. Carrigan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


By means of immunohistochemical staining, cells actively infected with human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) were found in central nervous system tissues from 8 (73%) of 11 patients with definite multiple sclerosis (MS). Interestingly, 17 (90%) of 19 tissue sections showing active demyelination were positive for HHV-6-infected cells compared with only 3 (13%) of 23 tissue sections free of active disease (P < .0001). Central nervous system tissues from 2 of 28 normal persons and patients with other inflammatory demyelinative diseases were positive for HHV-6-infected cells (P< .0001), and the 2 positive cases were diagnosed as having HHV-6 leukoencephalitis. By use of a rapid culture assay, blood samples from 22 (54%) of 41 patients with definite MS were found to contain active HHV-6 infections, compared with 0 of 61 normal controls (P<.0001). No significant difference was found between HHV-6 viremia-positive and HHV-6 viremia-negative MS patients with respect to type of disease (relapsing/remitting or progressive). In contrast, patients with active HHV-6 viremia were significantly younger and had shorter durations of disease than did HHV-6 viremia-negative patients.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)894-903
Number of pages10
JournalClinical Infectious Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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