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The relationship between renal transplantation and human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) infection was studied. All 21 kidney donors examined had antibody to HHV-6 at the time of transplantation. The 21 kidney recipients also had detectable antibody to HHV-6 before transplantation-and, of these, 8 patients showed a significant increase of serum antibody titer against HHV-6 after transplantation. All these 8 recipients suffered severe kidney rejection. Furthermore, virus isolation from peripheral blood lymphocytes of 2 recipients who suffered rejection was attempted, and in both cases HHV-6 was isolated. Biopsy specimens of rejected kidneys of 9 other patients were examined for the presence of HHV-6 antigens, and in 5 of these specimens antigens were detected in the tubular epithelium, as well as in infiltrating histiocytes and lymphocytes. These results suggest that HHV-6 can infect renal tissues and that the infection may be correlated with rejection or with immunosuppressive therapy.

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