Contrary to the results of a recent U.S. study, investigators in Japan found no association between a herpesvirus infection and a potentially life-threatening form of high blood pressure, as reported in the March 1 issue of The Journal of Infectious Diseases, now available online.
The researchers reported that they were not able to detect human herpesvirus 8 (HHV-8), also known as the Kaposi’s sarcoma virus, in the lungs of 22 patients with primary or other forms of pulmonary hypertension. These observations, by Harutaka Katano and colleagues from Toho University School of Medicine and the National Institute of Infectious Diseases in Tokyo, Japan, contrast with those in a much-publicized 2003 article published in The New England Journal of Medicine that reported the presence of the virus in similar samples of lung tissue from a similar number of patients.
Both primary pulmonary hypertension and infection with HHV-8 are uncommon, Katano and co-authors explained. Human herpesvirus 8 infection is associated with Kaposi’s sarcoma, a type of cancer most commonly seen in some parts of Africa and southern Europe and in people infected with HIV. Primary pulmonary hypertension is characterized in part by vascular lesions in the lung, and may lead to heart failure. Some cases are associated with genetic susceptibility, the investigators noted, but the pathogenesis of most cases is not known.
Steve Baragona | EurekAlert!
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