Virologic and Immunologic Evidence Supporting an Association between HHV-6 and Hashimoto's Thyroidit

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Virologic and Immunologic Evidence Supporting an Association between HHV-6 and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis

Elisabetta Caselli et al
October 4, 2012
PLoS Pathog 8(10): e1002951.
doi:10.1371/journal.ppat.1002951
http://www.plospathogens.org/article/info:doi/10.1371/journal.ppat.1002951


Abstract
Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT) is the most common of all thyroid diseases and is characterized by abundant lymphocyte infiltrate and thyroid impairment, caused by various cell- and antibody-mediated immune processes. Viral infections have been suggested as possible environmental triggers, but conclusive data are not available. We analyzed the presence and transcriptional state of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) in thyroid fine needle aspirates (FNA) and peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from 34 HT patients and 28 controls, showing that HHV-6 DNA prevalence (82% vs. 10%, p≤0.001) and viral load were significantly increased in FNA from HT patients, and thyrocytes from HT FNA displayed a 100-fold higher HHV-6 DNA load compared to infiltrating lymphocytes. In addition, while HHV-6 was strictly latent in positive samples from controls, a low grade acute infection was detected in HT samples. HHV-6 variant characterization was carried out in 10 HT FNA samples, determining that all specimens harbored HHV-6 Variant A.
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