Human herpesvirus 6A active infection in patients with autoimmune Hashimoto's thyroiditis

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Background: Hypothyroidism due to Hashimoto's thyroiditis (HT) is the commonest autoimmune endocrine illness in which antibodies against thyroid organ result in inflammation. The disease has a complex etiology that involves genetic and environmental influences. Viral infections may be involved in triggering of the disease as their molecular mimicry enhance autoimmune responses. Human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6) is recognized for its contribution to some autoimmune diseases. Objective: In the current study, the prevalence of HHV-6 active infection in patients with HT and with non-autoimmune thyroid disorders were compared with patients with euthyroidism. In addition, a correlation between presence of HHV-6 infections and HT was investigated. Methods: A total of 151 patients with clinically and laboratory confirmed HT, 59 patients with non-autoimmune thyroid disorders, and 32 patients with normal thyroid function were included in the study. For further confirmation of HT disease, all the precipitants were tested for anti-thyroid peroxidase (TPO), and anti-thyroglobulin (TG) antibodies. For detection of both HHV-6 types A and B, nested PCR and restriction enzyme digestion were used. HHV-6 DNA positive samples were further investigated by DNA sequencing analysis. Results: HHV-6A DNA was found in serum sample of 57 out of 151 patients (38%) with HT, which was significantly more often than in patients with non-autoimmune thyroid disorders (p = 0.001). However, HHV-6 DNA was not detected in serum samples of euthyroid subjects. Conclusions: The results support a possible role for active HHV-6A infection, demonstrated by the presence of HHV-6 DNA in sera, in the development of HT.




Seyyedi, N., Dehbidi, G. R., Karimi, M., Asgari, A., Esmaeili, B., Zare, F., … Behzad-Behbahani, A. (2019). Human herpesvirus 6A active infection in patients with autoimmune Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Brazilian Journal of Infectious Diseases, 23(6), 435–440.

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