Indexed on: 03 Feb '09Published on: 03 Feb '09Published in: AIDS research and human retroviruses
Abstract Human herpes virus 8 (HHV-8) is known to be reactivated in immunocompromised situations and it is associated with Kaposi's sarcoma (KS) and some hematological diseases. The aim of this study was to analyze the effect of HHV-8 on HIV-1 infection, especially on thrombocytopenia complicated with HIV infection. The HHV-8 DNA load was determined by a quantitative real-time PCR, using leukocytes from 125 HIV-1-infected individuals. HHV-8 DNA was detected in 37 individuals. The increased HIV-1 load and reduced percentage of CD4-positive T cells were significantly associated with the presence of HHV-8. The prevalence and load for HHV-8 are higher in patients with KS than in patients without KS, but the difference is not significant. The increased HHV-8 DNA load was significantly correlated with thrombocytopenia, and platelet counts were significantly lower in individuals with HHV-8 than in individuals without HHV-8. We also obtained the negative correlations between changes in platelet counts and changes in HHV-8 DNA loads. The association between thrombocytopenia and HHV-8 has never been reported previously, apart from some case reports of Castleman's disease and KS. Various cytokines or chemokines are produced by HHV-8-infected cells, some of which have been reported to inhibit hematopoiesis. This may be one of the mechanisms by which HHV-8 infection induces thrombocytopenia. These results indicate that HHV-8 DNA in leukocytes may provide useful information for the assessment of the clinical appearance of HIV-1 infection.