J Infect Dis 2003 May 1;187(9):1377-87
Cermelli C, Berti R, Soldan SS, Mayne M, D'ambrosia JM, Ludwin SK, Jacobson S.
Neuroimmunology Branch, National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, USA, and Department of Hygiene, Microbiology, and Biostatistics, University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Modena, Italy.
The frequency of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) DNA was assessed in autopsy material from multiple sclerosis (MS) plaques and normal-appearing white matter (NAWM) from brains of persons with MS, healthy brains, and brains of persons with other neurologic diseases.
Specific areas from formalin-fixed, paraffin-embedded brain tissue samples were isolated by laser microscope.
DNA was extracted from laser microdissected brain material, and HHV-6 genomic sequences were amplified by nested polymerase chain reaction.
We analyzed 44 NAWM samples and 64 MS plaques from 13 patients with MS, 46 samples from 13 patients with non-MS neurologic disorders, and 41 samples from 12 healthy control brains.
Of the 44 NAWM samples, 7 (15.9%) were positive for HHV-6 DNA sequences, versus 37 (57.8%) of 64 MS plaques (P<.0005).
HHV-6 DNA was detected in 10 (21.7%) of 46 samples from patients with non-MS neurologic disorders and in 11 (26.8%) of 41 samples from patients without known neurologic disease.
Although the frequency of HHV-6 DNA did not differ significantly by sample type, HHV-6 DNA was significantly more common in MS plaques, suggesting that HHV-6 may play a role in MS pathogenesis.