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Activation of human herpesviruses 6 and 7 in patients with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

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By S. Chapenko, et al. • • January 17, 2007

Journal: Journal of Clinical Virology, Vol. 37, Supplement I, December 2006, pp. S47-S51. [Supplement sponsored by HHV-6 Foundation. E-Publication Jan 2007. Full text available for a fee at ] Authors and affiliations: S. Chapenko, A. Krumina, S. Kozireva, Z. Nora, A. Sultanova, L. Viksna, M. Murovska. August Kirchenstein Institute of Microbiology and Virology, Riga Stradins University, Riga, Latvia.

Background: Human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and 7 (HHV-7) have been suggested as possible triggering agents for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).

Objectives: To determine the possible association of HHV-6 and HHV-7 infections with CFS.

Study design: The prevalence of latent/persistent and active viral infections by nPCR, characteristic of HHV-6 variants using restriction endonuclease analysis and changes of lymphocyte subsets in peripheral blood by laser flow-cytometry in 17 CFS patients was examined. In addition, 12 patients with unexplained chronic fatigue and 20 blood donors (BD) were studied.

Results: No difference in prevalence of latent/persistent single viral infections between the patients and BD was found but dual infection rate was significantly higher in CFS patients. Active HHV-6 and dual (HHV-6 + HHV-7) infections were detected in CFS patients only and frequency of HHV-7 reactivation was also significantly higher in these patients. HHV-6 variant B was predominant in CFS patients (12/13). The changes of immunological parameters in CFS patients with active dual infection were characterized by significant decrease of CD3+ and CD4+ T cells, significant increase of CD95+ cells and decrease of CD4+/CD8+ ratio.

Conclusions: HHV-6 and HHV-7 may be involved in the pathogenesis of CFS and reactivation of both viruses may provoke changes in the phenotype of circulating lymphocytes.

Keywords: CFS; HHV-6; HHV-7; Viral reactivation; Immunological parameters

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