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Impact of human herpesvirus-6 on the frequency and severity of recurrent hepatitis C virus hepatitis in liver transplant recipients


Nina Singh Infectious Disease Section, VA Medical Center, University Drive C, Pittsburgh, PA 15240, USA. Tel.: 412-688-6179; fax: 412-688-6950; e-mail:


A role of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-α) In the immunopathogenesis of hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection has been proposed. The novel herpes virus, human herpes virus-6 (HHV-6), is amongst the most potent inducers of cytokines, including TNF-α. The impact of HHV-6 viremia on the progression of recurrent HCV hepatitis was assessed in 51 HCV-positive liver transplant recipients. The frequency of recurrent HCV hepatitis did not differ between patients with HCV viremia (47.6%, 10/21) as compared with those without HCV viremia (46.7%, 14/30, p=0.9). However, the patients with HHV-6 viremia had a significantly higher fibrosis score upon HCV recurrence than those without HHV-6 viremia (mean 1.5 vs. 0.3, p=0.01). An association between cytomegalovirus (CMV) viremia and HCV recurrence was not documented; 50% (15/30) of the patients with CMV viremia and 42.8% (9/21) of those without CMV viremia had recurrent HCV hepatitis (p > 0.5). Receipt of ganciclovir (administered upon the detection of CMV viremia) was associated with lower total Knodell score (mean 5.2 vs. 6.9, p=0.05) and a trend towards lower fibrosis score (mean 0.44 vs. 1.00, p=0.12) in patients with recurrent HCV hepatitis. Thus, HHV-6 viremia in HCV-positive liver transplant recipients identified a subgroup of patients at increased risk for early fibrosis upon HCV recurrence.

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