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01.12.2019 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2019 Open Access

BMC Infectious Diseases 1/2019

Multiplex qPCR facilitates identification of betaherpesviruses in patients with acute liver failure of unknown etiology

BMC Infectious Diseases > Ausgabe 1/2019
Jéssica Vasques Raposo, Arthur Daniel Rocha Alves, Alexandre dos Santos da Silva, Damião Carlos dos Santos, Juliana Gil Melgaço, Otacílio C. Moreira, Marcelo Alves Pinto, Vanessa Salete de Paula
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The etiology of acute liver failure (ALF) is often unknown and reported to be associated with herpesviruses in a number of cases. In this study, we examined for betaherpesviruses infections in patients with ALF of unknown etiology using a multiplex qPCR to Betaherpesviruses subfamily.


Liver explant and serum samples from 27 patients with ALF of unknown etiology were analyzed with the aid of multiplex qPCR to identify betaherpesviruses. All positive samples were sequenced to confirm herpes infection and liver enzyme levels evaluated.


Betaherpesviruses infection was effectively detected using multiplex qPCR. Six (22%) HHV-6, one (3%) HCMV and two (7%) dual infections (one with HHV-7/HHV-6, and the other with HHV-7/ HCMV). Interestingly, HHV-7 was only detected in the presence of other betaherpesviruses. Sequencing information confirmed betaherpesviruses infection. High hepatic enzyme levels and INR values> 1.5 were determined in all betaherpesvirus-positive patients.


Multiplex qPCR facilitated efficient quantification, indicating that differentiation between betaherpesviruses is possible with the sole use of real-time PCR. Liver explant and serum samples were positive for some betaherpesviruses, and coinfection of HHV-7 with HHV-6 and HCMV was additionally detected. Based on these results, we propose that ALF patients should be screened for the presence of betaherpesviruses.
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