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The spontaneous course of human herpesvirus 6 DNA-associated myocarditis and the effect of immunosuppressive intervention

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Item Type:Article
Title:The spontaneous course of human herpesvirus 6 DNA-associated myocarditis and the effect of immunosuppressive intervention
Creators Name:Elsanhoury, A. and Kühl, U. and Stautner, B. and Klein, O. and Krannich, A. and Morris, D. and Willner, M. and Jankowska, E. and Klingel, K. and Van Linthout, S. and Tschöpe, C.
Abstract:INTRODUCTION: This study investigated the spontaneous clinical course of patients with endomyocardial biopsy (EMB)-proven lymphocytic myocarditis and cardiac human herpesvirus 6 (HHV6) DNA presence, and the effectiveness of steroid-based intervention in HHV6-positive patients. RESULTS: 756 heart failure (HF) patients underwent an EMB procedure to determine the underlying cause of unexplained HF. Low levels of HHV6 DNA, detectable by nested PCR only, were found in 10.4% of the cases (n = 79) of which 62% (n = 49) showed myocardial inflammation. The spontaneous course of patients with EMB-proven HHV6 DNA-associated lymphocytic myocarditis (n = 26) showed significant improvements in the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) and clinical symptoms, respectively, in 15/26 (60%) patients, 3–12 months after disease onset. EMB mRNA expression of components of the NLRP3 inflammasome pathway and protein analysis of cardiac remodeling markers, analyzed by real-time PCR and MALDI mass spectrometry, respectively, did not differ between HHV6-positive and -negative patients. In another cohort of patients with ongoing symptoms related to lymphocytic myocarditis associated with cardiac levels of HHV6-DNA copy numbers <500 copies/µg cardiac DNA, quantified by real-time PCR, the efficacy and safety of steroid-based immunosuppression for six months was investigated. Steroid-based immunosuppression improved the LVEF (≥5%) in 8/10 patients and reduced cardiac inflammation in 7/10 patients, without an increase in cardiac HHV6 DNA levels in follow-up EMBs. CONCLUSION: Low HHV6 DNA levels are frequently detected in the myocardium, independent of inflammation. In patients with lymphocytic myocarditis with low levels of HHV6 DNA, the spontaneous clinical improvement is nearby 60%. In selected symptomatic patients with cardiac HHV6 DNA copy numbers less than 500 copies/µg cardiac DNA and without signs of an active systemic HHV6 infection, steroid-based therapy was found to be effective and safe. This finding needs to be further confirmed in large, randomized trials.
Keywords:Myocarditis, Human Herpesvirus 6, Immunosuppression
Page Range:299
Date:February 2022
Official Publication:https://doi.org/10.3390/v14020299
PubMed:View item in PubMed

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