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Development of quantitative RT-PCR assays for detection of three classes of HHV-6B gene transcripts


  • The authors do not have any commercial or other associations that might pose a conflict of interest.

  • Ethical approval: This study was approved by the review board of our institute.


The monitoring of active human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) B infection is important for distinguishing between the reactivation and latent state of the virus. The aim of this present study is to develop a quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) assay for diagnosis of active viral infection. Primers and probes for in house quantitative RT-PCR methods were designed to detect the three kinetic classes of HHV-6B mRNAs (U90, U12, U100). Stored PBMCs samples collected from 10 patients with exanthem subitum (primary HHV-6B infection) and 15 hematopoietic stem cell transplant recipients with HHV-6B reactivation were used to evaluate reliability for testing clinical samples. Excellent linearity was obtained with high correlation efficiency between the diluted RNA (1–100 ng/reaction) and Ct value of each gene transcript. The U90 and U12 gene transcripts were detected in all of the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) samples collected in acute period of primary HHV-6B infection. Only one convalescent PBMCs sample was positive for the U90 gene transcript. Additionally, the reliability of HHV-6B quantitative RT-PCRs for diagnosis of viral reactivation in hematopoietic transplant recipients was evaluated. Relative to virus culture, U90 quantitative RT-PCR demonstrated the highest assay sensitivity, specificity, positive predictive value, and negative predictive value. Thus, this method could be a rapid and lower cost alternative to virus culture, which is difficult to perform generally, for identifying active HHV-6B infection. J. Med. Virol. 84:1388–1395, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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