Little Known Herpes Virus Linked To Some Unexplained Fertility Interview with:

Roberta Rizzo PhD Department of Medical Sciences Section of Microbiology University of Ferrara Ferrara, Italy

Dr. Roberto Rizzo

Roberta Rizzo PhD
Department of Medical Sciences
Section of Microbiology
University of Ferrara
Ferrara, Italy What is the background for this study?

Response: Infertility affects approximately 6% of 15-44 year old women or 1.5 million women in the US, according to the CDC. Approximately 25% of female infertility cases are unexplained, leaving women with few options other than expensive fertility treatments. Researchers are trying to identify factors and mechanisms at the basis of this condition. What are the main findings?

Response: We found that the little-known member of the human herpesvirus family called HHV-6A infects the lining of the uterus in 43% of women with unexplained infertility but cannot be found in that of fertile women.

Little is known about HHV-6A, which was discovered in 1986 and is one of nine human herpesviruses. Others include Epstein Barr virus, varicella-zoster virus, cytomegalovirus, and herpes simplex types 1 and 2. Since HHV-6A is typically not detectable in the blood or saliva, its true prevalence is unknown and its implication in human pathologies is still controversial. What should readers take away from your report?
Response: We think that the virus could make underlying fertility problems worse. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: The next steps will be to determine further whether infertile condition is due to the virus, or to changes in endometrial immune system caused by the virus. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: This work opens up a new frontier in the struggle against fertility problems: women with fertility problems could take advantage in antiviral therapy to re-create a receptive endometrial environment. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Roberto Marci, Valentina Gentili, Daria Bortolotti, Giuseppe Lo Monte, Elisabetta Caselli, Silvia Bolzani, Antonella Rotola, Dario Di Luca, Roberta Rizzo. Presence of HHV-6A in Endometrial Epithelial Cells from Women with Primary Unexplained Infertility. PLOS ONE, 2016; 11 (7): e0158304 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0158304

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

More Medical Research Interviews on

[wysija_form id=”5″]

Last Updated on July 9, 2016 by Marie Benz MD FAAD