A prospective study of human herpesvirus type 6 detected by polymerase chain reaction after liver transplantation

Transplantation. 1996 Feb 27;61(4):662-4. doi: 10.1097/00007890-199602270-00027.


Human herpesvirus type 6 (HHV-6) causes roseola infantum (exanthema subitum) upon primary infection in young children. Thereafter it persists lifelong in the organism. Like other herpesviruses, HHV-6 can be reactivated in periods of immunosuppression - e.g., after organ transplantation. In order to study the incidence and the time to reactivation after orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) we tested buffy coat lysates before and up to 10 weeks after transplantation for the presence of HHV-6 DNA by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Forty-six patients (male n=27, female n=19) with a median age of 48 years (range 20-66) were studied. Altogether, 30 of 287 (10.5%) buffy coat samples were PCR-positive. Before OLT 2 of 21 (9.5%) patients were positive. This ratio is not different from healthy blood donor controls. After OLT 13 of 46 (23.8%) patients were positive on one or more occasions. However, there was no statistically significant difference before and after OLT. Ten patients were analyzed for HHV-6 variants by restriction enzyme digestion of PCR products. One patient carried variant A and 9 variant B. In conclusion, HHV-6 can be detected in buffy coat cells after OLT. Our observations do not argue in favor of a reactivation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA, Viral / analysis
  • Female
  • Graft Rejection / virology
  • Herpesviridae Infections / diagnosis
  • Herpesviridae Infections / immunology
  • Herpesviridae Infections / virology*
  • Herpesvirus 6, Human / genetics
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / adverse effects
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Leukocytes / virology
  • Liver Transplantation / adverse effects*
  • Liver Transplantation / immunology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Prospective Studies


  • DNA, Viral
  • Immunosuppressive Agents