Dynamics of infection with human herpesvirus-6 in EBV-negative infectious mononucleosis: data acquisition for computer modeling

In Vivo. 2001 Sep-Oct;15(5):373-80.


Ten adult patients with active HHV-6 variant A infections and clinical infectious mononucleosis-like disease (IM) were studied over a period of 32 weeks after onset of disease for their viral DNA load, changes in peripheral blood T-lymphocytes and subpopulations and frequency of cell death in peripheral blood cells. The data were collected as the basis for an advanced computer simulation study for which available data in the literature were too varied. Since the exact time of primary infection of the patients was not known and thus no time relationship of viral effects at cellular level were determined, we supplemented such data from separate tissue culture studies using HHV-6 alpha infection of HSB2 cells. Patients with IM demonstrate an increase in-HHV-6 DNA copies from 0 to 8.2 log 10/5 microL blood within 4 weeks return to normal by 16 weeks. Total T-lymphocytes follow infection with a 20-fold increase above normal peaking at 8-10 weeks and then return to normal by 24-28 weeks. Coincidently, less mature lymphoid cells carrying markers for stem cells, thymic cortical and medullary cells increase 8-10-fold indicating an enhanced mobilization of such cells from premature cell compartments. Cell death in peripheral mononuclear cells peaked with 30% at 8 weeks after onset of clinical disease and normalized by 24 weeks. HHV-6 replication in cell culture as determined by antigen expression, electron microscopy and harvest of infectious virus indicated a complete cycle of virus infection and replication of at least 6 days. The presented data compare well with others from the literature and will serve for testing in a computer simulation model, which is the subject of a forthcoming paper.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood
  • Apoptosis
  • Cells, Cultured / virology
  • Child
  • Computer Simulation
  • DNA, Viral / blood
  • Herpesvirus 6, Human / isolation & purification
  • Herpesvirus 6, Human / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Immunoglobulin G / blood
  • Immunoglobulin M / blood
  • Infectious Mononucleosis / blood
  • Infectious Mononucleosis / immunology
  • Infectious Mononucleosis / virology*
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Lymphocyte Subsets / immunology
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Models, Biological
  • Roseolovirus Infections / blood
  • Roseolovirus Infections / immunology
  • Roseolovirus Infections / virology*
  • Viral Load
  • Viremia / virology
  • Virus Replication


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • DNA, Viral
  • Immunoglobulin G
  • Immunoglobulin M