Human herpesvirus 6 in cerebrospinal fluid of patients infected with HIV: Frequency and clinical significance

Simona Bossolasco, Roberta Marenzi, Helena Dahl, Luca Vago, Maria Rosa Terreni, Francesco Broccolo, Adriano Lazzarin, Annika Linde, Paola Cinque

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The objective was to evaluate the frequency of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) DNA detection in the CSF of patients infected with HIV and its relation to brain disease and systemic HHV-6 infection. Nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) was used to analyse CSF samples from 365 consecutive HIV infected patients with neurological symptoms. When available, plasma and brain tissues from patients whose CSF was HHV-6 positive were also studied. HHV-6 was found in the CSF of eight of the 365 patients (2.2%): two had type A and four type B; the HHV-6 variant could not be defined in the remaining two. All eight patients had neurological symptoms and signs related to concomitant opportunistic brain diseases, including cytomegalovirus (CMV) encephalitis in five patients whose CSF was also positive for CMV-DNA. Opportunistic infections but no other unexplained lesions were also found in the brain of all of the four patients who underwent neuropathological examination. Both HHV-6 and CMV were also detected in the plasma of respectively five and seven of seven patients whose CSF was HHV-6 positive. In conclusion, HHV-6 type A or B DNA was infrequently found in the CSF of HIV infected patients, in association with both CMV brain infection and systemic HHV-6 replication. However, no certain relation between HHV-6 and brain disease was found.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)789-792
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cytomegalovirus
  • HIV infection
  • Human herpesvirus type 6

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuropsychology and Physiological Psychology
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


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