No evidence of human herpesvirus 8 infection in patients with paraneoplastic pemphigus, pemphigus vulgaris, or pemphigus foliaceus

S. S. Cohen, M. D. Weinstein, B. G. Herndier, G. J. Anhak, A. Blauvelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Paraneoplastic pemphigus has been associated with both malignancies and multicentric Castleman's disease; the latter is a rare angiolymphoproliferative disorder that has also been linked wIth human herpesvirus 8 (HHVS) infection. Other diseases definitively associated with HHV8 include Kaposi's sarcoma and primary effusion lymphoma. In a search for additional HHV8-associated diseases, patients with paraneoplastic pemphigus, as well as patients with pemphigus vulgaris and pemphigus foliaceus, were studied. Using an immunofluorescence assay able to specifically detect antibodies directed against lytically induced HHV8 antigens, HHV8 antibodies were not detected in sera from 24 patients with paraneoplastic pemphigus (including 10 with concomitant Castleman's disease) nor from 19 patients with pemphigus vulgaris. Sera from patients with Kaposi's sarcoma and from healthy U.S. blood donors were positive (25 of 26) and negative (none of 20), respectively. In addition, HHV8 DNA was not found in frozen lesional skin of five patients with pemphigus vulgaris and five patients with pemphigus foliaceus by nested polymerase chain reaction (lower limit of detection = 10 copies viral DNA per μg total cellular DNA). Finally, tissue sections of lesional skin from 10 patients with pemphigus vulgaris were negative for HHV8 by in situ hybridization, using probes able to detect both latently and lytically expressed HHV8 genes in Kaposi's sarcoma tissue. In summary, no evidence of HHV8 infection was found in all types of pemphigus using a variety of methods. These findings do not support a general role for HHV8 in skin diseases associated with immunosuppression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)781-783
Number of pages3
JournalJournal of Investigative Dermatology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • In situ hybridization
  • Kaposi's sarcoma
  • Polymerase chain reaction
  • Serology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Dermatology
  • Cell Biology


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