Virologica Sinica

, Volume 33, Issue 5, pp 402–409 | Cite as

Detection of EBV and HHV6 in the Brain Tissue of Patients with Rasmussen’s Encephalitis

  • Dong Liu
  • Xin Wang
  • Yisong Wang
  • Peigang Wang
  • Dongying Fan
  • Sichang Chen
  • Yuguang Guan
  • Tianfu Li
  • Jing An
  • Guoming Luan
Research Article


Rasmussen’s encephalitis (RE) is a rare pediatric neurological disorder, and the exact etiology is not clear. Viral infection may be involved in the pathogenesis of RE, but conflicting results have reported. In this study, we evaluated the expression of both Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and human herpes virus (HHV) 6 antigens in brain sections from 30 patients with RE and 16 control individuals by immunohistochemistry. In the RE group, EBV and HHV6 antigens were detected in 56.7% (17/30) and 50% (15/30) of individuals, respectively. In contrast, no detectable EBV and HHV6 antigen expression was found in brain tissues of the control group. The co-expression of EBV and HHV6 was detected in 20.0% (6/30) of individuals. In particular, a 4-year-old boy had a typical clinical course, including a medical history of viral encephalitis, intractable epilepsy, and hemispheric atrophy. The co-expression of EBV and HHV6 was detected in neurons and astrocytes in the brain tissue, accompanied by a high frequency of CD8+ T cells. Our results suggest that EBV and HHV6 infection and the activation of CD8+ T cells are involved in the pathogenesis of RE.


Rasmussen’s encephalitis (RE) Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) Human herpes virus 6 (HHV6) Seizures CD8+ T cells 



This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81701992, 81471957, and 81671971), the Beijing Municipal Natural Science Foundation (7144217), the Capital Applied Clinic Research Programs of Science and Technology (Z131107002213171), the Beijing Rising-star Plan of Science and Technology (Z141107001814042), and Scientific Research Common Program of Beijing Municipal Commission of Education (KM201610025001).

Author Contributions

GM and JA conceived and designed the experiments. DL and XW performed the experiments and analyzed the data. YW, CC, PW, DF, YG, and TL contributed reagents/materials/analysis tools. DL wrote the manuscript and prepared the figures and tables. GL and JA revised the manuscript, organized the collaboration, and directed the project. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Animal and Human Rights Statement

This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Sanbo Brain Hospital, Capital Medical University (2013061801), and written informed consent was obtained from all participants or their guardians prior to the study.


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Copyright information

© Wuhan Institute of Virology, CAS and Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Neurosurgery, Sanbo Brain HospitalCapital Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Department of Microbiology, School of Basic Medical ScienceCapital Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.Department of NeurosurgeryXuanwu Hospital of Capital Medical UniversityBeijingChina
  4. 4.Beijing Key Laboratory of EpilepsyBeijingChina
  5. 5.Center of EpilepsyBeijing Institute for Brain DisordersBeijingChina

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