Probing blood brain barrier in Substantia Nigra for traces of HHV-6 in chronic alcoholics and controls: An immune-histo-pathological evaluation

Nityanand Jain, Sandra Skuja (Scientific Advisor)

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstractpeer-review


Objectives. Human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6) is a double stranded DNA beta virus known to be present in latent stage in almost all of the individuals. The exact pathogenesis of HHV-6 still remains an enigma. HHV-6 is known to employ hematogenous spreading to reach the neural cells due its tropism towards the vascular endothelial cells. An altered blood-brain barrier (BBB) due to the neurotoxic effects of alcohol, may also play a pivotal role in expediting the pathogenicity of the virus. Consequently, Substantia Nigra (SN), a dopaminergic-neuron rich region was investigated for the presence of HHV-6 proteins in non-alcoholic (controls) and chronic alcohol users.

Materials and Methods. 30 brain autopsy samples with a history of chronic alcohol use were studied and compared with 15 control samples. 15 visual fields were assessed in each slide using light microscope (40×) and quantitative estimation of HHV-6 expression in blood vessels was done. The results were analysed using Excel.

Results. Overall 17 (4 control and 13 alcoholics) out of 45 samples showed HHV-6 positive blood vessel endothelium while 23 samples (6 control and 17 alcoholics) showed HHV-6 positivity in neuropil and/or neural cells. 5 samples (control group) were found to be HHV-6 negative. In the gray matter, controls had about 45% HHV-6 positive vessels compared with 60% HHV-6 positive vessels in alcoholics. 40% and 70% HHV-6 positivity of blood vessels was seen in the white matter in controls and alcoholics, respectively. The general trend showed the presence of a higher number of blood vessels in the controls group, but with less HHV-6 positivity when compared to the alcoholic group.

Conclusions. Increased HHV-6 positivity of blood vessels in chronic alcohol users could highlight the role of endothelium in the transmission of virus from periphery to sub-cortical and basal ganglia regions via an altered BBB.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
Publication statusPublished - 27 Mar 2020
Event6th RSU International Student Conference 2020: Health and Social Sciences - Rīga Stradiņš University, Rīga, Latvia
Duration: 27 Mar 202028 Mar 2020
Conference number: 6


Conference6th RSU International Student Conference 2020
Abbreviated titleISC 2020
Internet address

Field of Science*

  • 3.2 Clinical medicine
  • 3.3 Health sciences

Publication Type*

  • 3.4. Other publications in conference proceedings (including local)

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