Two Polyomaviruses Linked To Dermatoses in Immunocompromised Patients Interview with:

Richard Wang, M.D., Ph.D. Assistant Professor UT Southwestern Medical Center

Dr. Wang

Richard Wang, M.D., Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
UT Southwestern Medical Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?


Currently, there are 13 polyomaviruses known to infect humans. Several members of this family of double-stranded DNA viruses—including Merkel Cell Polyomavirus, Trichodysplasia Spinulosa Polyomavirus, Human Polyomavirus 6 (HPyV6), and Human Polyomavirus 7 (HPyV7)—can be shed from skin of healthy individuals. While most polyomavirus infections are common and subclinical, several polyomaviruses have been associated with debilitating diseases in immunocompromised individuals. Most recently, HPyV7 was discovered in a pruritic and dyskeratotic eruption in two immunosuppressed transplant patients. A closely related polyomavirus, Human Polyomavirus 6, has not yet been strongly linked to any infectious diseases. Using the previously described, characteristic histologic pattern, we identify 3 additional cases of skin eruptions associated with infections of HPyV6 and HPyV7. The association of the dermatoses with highly active infections were confirmed through electron microscopy, immunohistochemistry, quantitative PCR, and complete sequencing. HPyV7 infects keratinocytes and affects their normal differentiation. In addition, next generation sequencing revealed that HPyV6 could persist in a latent state in the skin of a previously infected patient. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: HPyV6 and HPyV7 are strongly associated with rare skin eruptions in immunosuppressed patients showing dyskeratosis and irregular columns of parakeratosis on histology. We describe these eruptions as HPyV6- or HPyv7- associated pruritic and dyskeratotic dermatoses. These rare infections should be included in the differential diagnosis of immunosuppressed patients with pruritic eruptions. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: The identification of additional cases of HPyV6- and HPyV7- associated pruritic and dyskeratotic dermatoses would help to strengthen the association and better define the clinical spectrum of these newly described entities.  A role for cutaneous polyomaviruses in other skin diseases, including epidermodysplasia verruciformis, should be excluded, especially if biopsies show histologic changes consistent with a polyomavirus infection. In future studies, it will also be interesting to determine how HPyV6 and 7 maintain latent infections in the skin, and whether the novel sequence changes identified in this study can contribute to latency or infectivity. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: No conflicts of interest to disclose. Thank you for your contribution to the community.


Human polyomavirus 6 and 7 are associated with pruritic and dyskeratotic dermatoses
Nguyen, Khang D. et al.
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology , Volume 0 , Issue 0 ,

Dec 30 2016

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 January 2, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD