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Saturday, November 16, 2013

Important statement by the HHV-6 Foundation on HHV-6 and AIDS


J Virol. 2013 Nov;87(22):12020-8. doi: 10.1128/JVI.01556-13. Epub 2013 Sep 4.

Human Herpesvirus 6A Infection and Immunopathogenesis in Humanized Rag2-/-γc-/- Mice.


Department of Microbiology and Molecular Biology, Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, USA.


Although serious human diseases have been correlated with human herpesvirus 6A (HHV-6A) and HHV-6B, the lack of animal models has prevented studies which would more definitively link these viral infections to disease. HHV-6A and HHV-6B have recently been classified as two distinct viruses, and in this study we focused specifically on developing an in vivo model for HHV-6A. Here we show that Rag2(-/-)γc(-/-) mice humanized with cord blood-derived human hematopoietic stem cells produce human T cells that express the major HHV-6A receptor, CD46. Both cell-associated and cell-free viral transmission of HHV-6A into the peritoneal cavity resulted in detectable viral DNA in at least one of the samples (blood, bone marrow, etc.) analyzed from nearly all engrafted mice. Organs and cells positive for HHV-6A DNA were the plasma and cellular blood fractions, bone marrow, lymph node, and thymic samples; control mice had undetectable viral DNA. We also noted viral pathogenic effects on certain T cell populations. Specific thymocyte populations, including CD3(-) CD4(+) CD8(-) and CD3(+) CD4(-) cells, were significantly modified in humanized mice infected by cell-associated transmission. In addition, we detected significantly increased proportions of CD4(+) CD8(+) cells in the blood of animals infected by cell-free transmission. These findings provide additional evidence that HHV-6A may play a role in human immunodeficiencies. These results indicate that humanized mice can be used to study HHV-6A in vivo infection and replication as well as aspects of viral pathogenesis.

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