Reactivation of Human Herpesvirus-6 and -7 in Pityriasis Rosea

Title: Additional evidence that pityriasis rosea is associated with reactivation of human herpesvirus-6 and -7.
: Broccolo F, et al.
Publication: J Invest Dermatol. 2005 Jun;124(6):1234-40.

The authors wanted to see whether there human herpesvirus (HHV)-6 and HHV-7 play a role in pityriasis rosea. They enrolled 31 patients with the skin condition, 12 patients with other skin conditions, and 36 blood donors as control. They measured the presence of:

  • HHV DNA in blood, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC), and tissues using a technique called quantitative real-time PCR
  • HHV-6 and -7 specific antigens (substance that stimulate an immune response, used here as a sign for presence of these viruses)
  • Anti-HHV-7 neutralizing activity by a synctia-inhibition test (a particular test to determine the presence of this virus)

They found the following:

DNA test HHV-6 DNA found in the blood of 17% of patients
HHV-7 DNA found in the blood of 39% of the patients
No HHV-6 or HHV-7 DNA were found in the blood of the controls (those without pityriasis rosea)

The presence of HHV-7 in the bloodstream resulted in higher levels of PMBC. However, this was not the case for HHV-6.

Antigen test HHV-6 and HHV-7 antigens were only present in patients with pityriasis rosea.
Synctia-neutralizing test This test reveal that although antibodies against HHV-7 were found in both pityriasis rosea patients and control, its level is lower in those with the skin condition.

The authors concluded that there is a correlation between the presence of HHV-7 (and to a lesser extent, HHV-6) to pityriasis rosea.

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