MR imaging of human herpesvirus-6 encephalopathy after hematopoietic stem cell transplantation in adults

T. Noguchi, Futoshi Mihara, T. Yoshiura, O. Togao, K. Atsumi, T. Matsuura, T. Kuroiwa, H. Honda

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36 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Human herpesvirus-6 (HHV-6)-associated encephalopathy tends to develop in immunocompromised patients. Neurologic symptoms, such as disorientation, short-term memory loss, convulsion, coma, and hypopnea could occur, but they may be nonspecific. We retrospectively reviewed MR images of 6 adults with HHV-6-associated encephalopathy to study characteristic imaging findings that could be useful in making the diagnosis. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Between 2003 and 2005, we encountered 6 cases of HHV-6-associated encephalopathy (3 men and 3 women; age range, 36-55 years) in 3 hospitals. The diagnosis was made clinically according to the neurologic symptoms accompanied by high-level copies of HHV-6 DNA in CSF or peripheral blood by quantitative polymerase chain reaction without the detection of any other infectious pathogen. RESULTS: All 6 patients had abnormal hippocampus/amygdala findings on presentation, and no other regions were involved. In the early period (0-2 days from onset), abnormal high signal intensity on fluid-attenuated inversion recovery (FLAIR) imaging (2 of 3, 67%) and on diffusion-weighted images accompanied by apparent diffusion coefficient (ADC) reduction (2 of 2, 100%) were observed. In the middle period (3-30 days), abnormal low signal intensity on T1-weighted images (5 of 6, 83%) and abnormal high signal intensity on T2-weighted images (4 of 6, 67%) and FLAIR (5 of 6, 83%) were confirmed. In the late period (> 30 days), we saw the resolution of signal intensity abnormalities and the appearance of atrophic change (4 of 4, 100%) of the affected regions. CONCLUSION: HHV-6-associated encephalopathy in adults tends to affect the mesial temporal lobe. MR imaging is useful for detecting HHV-6 encephalopathy and distinguishing it from the other diseases of the central nervous system in immunocompromised patients.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2191-2195
Number of pages5
JournalAmerican Journal of Neuroradiology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Clinical Neurology


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