Lack of Evidence for a Role of HHV-6 in the Pathogenesis of Alzheimer's Disease

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Background: Alzheimer's disease (AD), the most common form of dementia worldwide, is associated with impairment in the mechanisms of the clearing of amyloid-β within a scenario of neuroinflammation. The etiopathogenesis of the AD is unclear, but a role for viral infection is suspected to play a role in initiating the disease. We recently described a positive correlation between high titers of HSV-1-specific antibodies (Ab) and the volumes of brain regions typically affected in disease. Objective: The exploration of a possible role for Herpesviridae in AD was extended by analyzing HHV-6-specific humoral immunity in individuals with AD or a diagnosis of amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), a condition that is often prodromic of the development of AD. Methods: 59 AD, 60 aMCI, and 61 age-matched healthy controls were enrolled in the study. Serum HHV-6 IgG antibody titers and avidity index were tested by ELISA. Two randomly selected subgroups of AD and aMCI in whom HHV-6 serum antibodies were detected underwent brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) by 1.5 T scanner. Results: HHV-6 seroprevalence, antibody titers, and avidity were similar in the three groups. No correlation was found between Ab titers or avidity and brain volumes, either overall or in the regions typically affected by disease. Conclusions: The lack of any relation between humoral immune response against HHV-6 and AD and aMCI seems to rule out a role for this virus in the pathogenesis of AD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)229-235
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Alzheimer's Disease
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2015


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • HHV-6
  • humoral immunity
  • magnetic resonance imaging

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Clinical Psychology


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