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Abstract

Serial serum samples from 37 patients with Hodgkin's disease (HD) and 39 healthy controls were studied for antibodies to human herpes virus-6 (HHV-6) using ELISA and indirect immunofluorescent antibody (IFA) tests and to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) using a radio-complement fixation assay. Antibodies to HHV-6 in the pre-treatment sera from the HD patients were not significantly different from those of controls, but significant changes in titers related to clinical course were noted among the HD patients. HHV-6 IFA titers increased significantly in the course of follow-up in patients who relapsed and decreased significantly over time in patients who did not. These serologic studies support tissue-based investigations indicating that EBV plays a greater etiologic role in HD than HHV-6, although HHV-6 serology may be of prognostic value or may assist in identifying individuals with immunologic abnormalities. The identification of diverse HHV-6 antibody patterns using different assays may reflect the presence of a number of antibodies with varying implications, similar to those identified for EBV.