DOI: 10.3390/microorganisms12020362 ISSN: 2076-2607

From Viral Infection to Autoimmune Reaction: Exploring the Link between Human Herpesvirus 6 and Autoimmune Diseases

Liba Sokolovska, Maksims Cistjakovs, Asnate Matroze, Modra Murovska, Alina Sultanova
  • Virology
  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Microbiology

The complexity of autoimmunity initiation has been the subject of many studies. Both genetic and environmental factors are essential in autoimmunity development. Among others, environmental factors include infectious agents. HHV-6 is a ubiquitous human pathogen with a high global prevalence. It has several properties suggestive of its contribution to autoimmunity development. HHV-6 has a broad cell tropism, the ability to establish latency with subsequent reactivation and persistence, and a range of immunomodulation capabilities. Studies have implicated HHV-6 in a plethora of autoimmune diseases—endocrine, neurological, connective tissue, and others—with some studies even proposing possible autoimmunity induction mechanisms. HHV-6 can be frequently found in autoimmunity-affected tissues and lesions; it has been found to infect autoimmune-pathology-relevant cells and influence immune responses and signaling. This review highlights some of the most well-known autoimmune conditions to which HHV-6 has been linked, like multiple sclerosis and autoimmune thyroiditis, and summarizes the data on HHV-6 involvement in autoimmunity development.

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