Large vessel arteritis associated with human herpesvirus 6 infections

Clin Rheumatol. 2002 Nov;21(6):528-32. doi: 10.1007/s100670200129.


A 9-month-old boy presented with chronic arteritis of the aorta and its major branches. The clinical manifestations at onset of his illness were compatible with those of Kawasaki syndrome. However, the febrile period lasted for 2 months despite various immunosuppressive therapies, and the levels of C-reactive protein remain high 18 months after onset. Elevated circulating immune complexes, decreased serum complement levels, hypergammaglobulinaemia and monoclonal gammopathy were observed. Active HHV-6 infection was shown by increased serum levels of antihuman herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) IgG and IgM antibodies, and positive HHV-6 DNA in sera, peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMNC) and lymph nodes. HHV-6 was actively replicating in PBMNC and lymph nodes, as shown by the detection of transcripts for the virus structural antigen. These results suggest that large vessel arteritis can be associated with HHV-6 infection.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Angiography
  • Aorta / pathology
  • Arteritis / drug therapy
  • Arteritis / etiology*
  • Arteritis / pathology
  • Cyclophosphamide / therapeutic use
  • Cyclosporine / therapeutic use
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique, Indirect
  • Herpesvirus 6, Human / isolation & purification*
  • Herpesvirus 6, Human / physiology
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Methylprednisolone / therapeutic use
  • Mucocutaneous Lymph Node Syndrome / diagnosis
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Roseolovirus Infections / complications*
  • Roseolovirus Infections / pathology
  • Virus Replication


  • DNA, Viral
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Cyclosporine
  • Cyclophosphamide
  • Methylprednisolone