Questionable role of human herpesviruses in the pathogenesis of Kikuchi disease

Min Sun Cho, Hee Jung Choi, Hae Kyung Park, Sung Eun Cho, Woon Sup Han, Woo Ick Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Context. - Kikuchi disease is a self-limiting febrile lymphadenopathy characterized by a patchy area of apoptosis. Kikuchi disease is thought to be caused by a virus, but this has not been clearly demonstrated. Human herpesviruses 6 and 7 (HHV-6 and HHV-7) are lymphotropic viruses that can induce apoptosis in infected lymphocytes. Recently, HHV-8 was reported to be a possible etiologic agent of Kikuchi disease. Objective. - To investigate the incidence of HHV-6, HHV-7, and HHV-8 infection in patients with Kikuchi disease. Design. - Seventy archival tissue specimens (from 50 Kikuchi disease cases and 20 control cases) were tested for the presence of HHV-6 and HHV-7 using a nested polymerase chain reaction, and for the presence of HHV-8 using single-step polymerase chain reaction. Immunohistochemistry for HHV-8 expression was carried out in those cases in which HHV-8 was detected using polymerase chain reaction. Results. - Of the 50 cases with Kikuchi disease, 21 (42%) were HHV-6 positive and 32 (64%) were HHV-7 positive. Eight (40%) of the 20 control cases were HHV-6 positive and 9 (45%) were HHV-7 positive. Both HHV-6 and HHV-7 were detected in 15 (30%) of the cases with Kikuchi disease and in 3 (15%) of the control cases. Three (6%) of the 50 cases of Kikuchi disease were HHV-8 positive but revealed no positive cells on immunohistochemical analysis for HHV-8. Human herpesvirus 8 was not expressed in any of the control cases. Conclusions. - There was no association between the presence of HHV-6 or HHV-7 and Kikuchi disease. Because the HHV-8 genome but not protein was detected in a small proportion of the cases of Kikuchi disease, its potential causative role in this disease should be determined by further studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)604-609
Number of pages6
JournalArchives of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2007


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