HHV-6 virus in demyelination

Pietiläinen-Nicklén J, Virtanen JO, Uotila L, Salonen O, Färkkilä M, Koskiniemi M. HHV-6-positivity in diseases with demyelination. J Clin Virol. 2014. pii: S1386-6532(14)00269-8

BACKGROUND:The triggering agent of multiple sclerosis is still unknown and many viruses, including human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6), are under suspicion. In earlier study we found patients who had HHV-6 reactive OCBs in their CSF. We wanted to investigate whether HHV-6 has an active role in diseases with demyelination.
OBJECTIVE: To analyze the HHV-6-reactive cases in detail and investigate the possible independent role of HHV-6 in the development of central nervous system involvements with demyelination.
STUDY DESIGN: We studied serum and CSF samples that were collected over a period of one year, from all patients who had oligoclonal bands (OCB) in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). Clinical evaluation was accomplished blinded of HHV-6 analysis and follow-up time was two years. All patients underwent MRI of the head and clinically indicated CSF analysis.
RESULTS: The 17 patients with HHV-6-reactive OCBs were significantly younger and had significantly more IgG-OCBs in comparison to patients without HHV-6-reactive OCBs. Initial diagnoses in patients with HHV-6-reactive OCBs remained the same during the follow-up time.
CONCLUSION: Patients with HHV-6-positive OCBs appear to form a separable group. In progressive neurological diseases HHV-6 may have a role in long-term infection with demyelination.

Then again it may not. 

The case for HHV-6 being causative in MS is not supported by the finding that most MSers do not show evidence of infection. However could it be important in a subset of MSers…yes it could.

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  • EBV is capable of mimicry. Could it also camouflage as HHV6? And if so, would this also have an effect on the OCB test methods?

  • This study has left me bamboozled. What subset of MS patients are they referring to? Seeing as all MS is 'progressive', does it isolate which group it thinks? When they say significantly younger,what is the average age?
    Bottom line: does being treated for HHV-6 help in any way,if you have it?

  • Yes, I have HSV and acyclovir treats it, but If taken in larger long term dose 400mg BID it causes a lot of problems with dehydration, so I only take for acute treatment 200mg every 4 hrs x 7 days, 10 if I need to.

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