A fatal case of acute HHV-6 myocarditis following allogeneic haemopoietic stem cell transplantation

Reactivation of HHV-6 determined by Coppe Labs’ immuohistochemical staining

Waukesha, WI, The November issue of the Journal of Clinical Virology (J Clin Virol. 2015 Nov; 72:82-4. doi: 10.1016/j.jcv.2015.09.013. Epub 2015 Oct 9) reports the first fatal case of biopsy-proven HHV-6 myocarditis post stem cell transplant. Dr. David Baewer, Chief Medical Officer at Coppe Laboratories co-authored the paper with colleagues from Sydney, Australia.

cardiomyocytes 5_b

HHV-6 in cardiac myocytes

The publication reports the case of a 62-year old patient who underwent a matched, unrelated hematopoietic stem cell transplant. On day +13 the patient experienced cardiac failure.  Treatment with diuretics, analgesic, and IV antibiotics failed to improve cardiac function.  Despite growth factors and platelet transfusions the patient remained pancytopenic.  HHV-6 DNA PCR was positive on peripheral blood with a low copy number (<200 copies/mL).  Dilated cardiomyopathy and focal changes consistent with viral myocarditis were noted on post-mortem exam.  Coppe Laboratories performed immunohistochemical staining on the cardiac tissue. Results indicated HHV-6 antigen in the cardiomyocytes.

This is the first publication of HHV-6 immunohistochemistry showing active HHV-6 infection in a heart biopsy of a stem cell transplant patient with fatal myocarditis. “HHV-6 is an opportunistic pathogen that can reactivate and cause a range of clinical symptoms in immunocompromised individuals,” said Dr. David Baewer, Chief Medical Officer of Coppe Laboratories.  HHV-6 is treatable with antiviral therapy.  This case illustrates the importance of recognizing the spectrum of organ damage that can result from reactivation of HHV-6 and the utility of immunohistochemistry staining to determine active HHV-6 infection.  The picture (left) shows HHV-6 (red inclusions) in the cardiac myocytes.

About Coppe Laboratories

Coppe Laboratories is a contract research organization and a CLIA-certified reference laboratory in Waukesha, Wisconsin (USA) specializing in research and diagnostics for emerging viral diseases. Since its founding in 2012, Coppe has delivered unparalleled clinical lab service to academic and children’s hospitals, integrative medicine specialists, and clinical research centers nationwide. Our scientists provide custom contract research services, designing essential experiments and providing preliminary data in support of biotech and pharmaceutical industries worldwide.

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