Human Herpesvirus 6 Detection in Alzheimer's Disease Cases and Controls across Multiple Cohorts

Mary Alice Allnutt, Kory Johnson, David A. Bennett, Sarah M. Connor, Juan C. Troncoso, Olga Pletnikova, Marilyn S. Albert, Susan M. Resnick, Sonja W. Scholz, Philip L. De Jager, Steven Jacobson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


The interplay between viral infection and Alzheimer's disease (AD) has long been an area of interest, but proving causality has been elusive. Several recent studies have renewed the debate concerning the role of herpesviruses, and human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) in particular, in AD. We screened for HHV-6 detection across three independent AD brain repositories using (1) RNA sequencing (RNA-seq) datasets and (2) DNA samples extracted from AD and non-AD control brains. The RNA-seq data were screened for pathogens against taxon references from over 25,000 microbes, including 118 human viruses, whereas DNA samples were probed for PCR reactivity to HHV-6A and HHV-6B. HHV-6 demonstrated little specificity to AD brains over controls by either method, whereas other viruses, such as Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and cytomegalovirus (CMV), were detected at comparable levels. These direct methods of viral detection do not suggest an association between HHV-6 and AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1027-1035.e2
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 18 2020


  • Alzheimer's disease
  • herpesvirus
  • human herpesvirus 6

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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