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Inherited virus can cause cognitive dysfunction and fatigue
Date:7/26/2013

omosomally integrated HHV-6," or CIHHV-6. By contrast, the "latent" genome of all other human herpesviruses converts to a circular form in the nucleus of the cell, not integrated into the chromosomes, and not inheritable by future generations.

Most studies suggest that around 0.8 percent of the U.S. and U.K. population is CIHHV-6 positive, thus carrying a copy of HHV-6 in each cell. While most CIHHV-6 individuals appear healthy, they may be less able to defend themselves against other strains of HHV-6 that they might encounter. Medveczky reports that some of these individuals suffer from a CFS-like illness. In a cohort of CFS patients with serious neurological symptoms, the researchers found that the prevalence of CIHHV-6 was over 2 percent, or more than twice the level found in the general public. In light of this finding, the authors of the study suggest naming this sub-category of CFS "Inherited Human Herpesvirus 6 Syndrome," or IHS.

Medveczky's team discovered that untreated CIHHV-6 patients with CFS showed signs that the HHV-6 virus was actively replicating: determined by the presence of HHV-6 messenger RNA (mRNA), a substance produced only when the virus is active. The team followed these patients during treatment, and discovered that the HHV-6 mRNA disappeared by the sixth week of antiviral therapy with valganciclovir, a drug used to treat closely related cytomegalovirus (HHV-5). Of note, the group also found that short-term treatment regimens, even up to three weeks, had little or no impact on the HHV-6 mRNA level.

The investigators assumed that the integrated virus had become reactivated in these patients; however, to their surprise, they found that these IHS patients were infected by a second unrelated strain of HHV-6.

The USF-led study was supported by the HHV-6 Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.

Further studies are warranted to confirm that immune dysregulation, along with subsequent chronic p
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Contact: Anne DeLotto Baier
abaier@health.usf.edu
813-974-3303
University of South Florida (USF Health)
Source:Eurekalert

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