HHV8 DNA sequences have recently been isolated from all types of Kaposi's sarcomas, and its association in the etiopathogenesis of this tumor has been established. However, little is known about the regulation of HHV8 replication in immunocompromised patients seropositive for this virus, and its impact on the development of Kaposi's sarcoma (KS). Through the study of a heart transplant patient who developed KS and in whom peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) had been prospectively collected before and after transplantation, we have investigated the pathogenesis of HHV8. Our results indicate that (i) HHV8 can reactivate soon after transplantation; (ii) viral replication, as determined by quantification of HHV8 DNA load of PBLs, increases significantly after transplantation; and (iii) increased HHV8 DNA levels in PBLs are associated with the development of KS.
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