The aim of this study was to determine whether human herpesvirus 6B (HHV-6B) infection can impair the hippocampus in pediatric hematopoietic stem cell transplant (HSCT) recipients. Study subjects were pediatric HSCT recipients monitored for HHV-6B infection who underwent brain MRI before and after transplantation. Volumetric analysis of the hippocampus was performed. Of the 107 patients that received HSCT at Nagoya University Hospital Between July 2008 and April 2014, 20 were eligible for volumetric analysis. Eight patients had HHV-6B infection, of whom two had encephalopathy at the time of HHV-6B infection. None of the 12 patients without HHV-6B infection had encephalopathy. The median ratio of the right hippocampal volume from before to after transplantation was 0.93 in patients with HHV-6B infection and 1.02 in without HHV-6B infection (p = 0.007). The median ratio of the left hippocampal volume ratio in patients with and without HHV-6B infection was 0.92 and 1.00, respectively (p = 0.003). Among the eight patients with HHV-6B infection, four had a marked reduction in hippocampal volume (volume ratio < 0.90). Only one of these patients had neurological symptoms at the time of HHV-6B infection. The reduction in the hippocampal volume ratio was higher in pediatric HSCT recipients with HHV-6B infection than those without viral infection. Neurological follow-up may be required for pediatric HSCT recipients with HHV-6B infection.
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