Objective The human herpesvirus type 8 (HHV8) was first described in 1994 and has been associated with pathogenesis of Kaposi sarcoma (a body cavity lymphoma), Castleman’s disease and, recently, related to interstitial pneumonitis in HIV-infected adults. We have studied six children with interstitial pneumonitis, which adquired HIV infection perinatally, for the presence of HHV8 in lung tissue.
Methods Lung biopsies were performed in six pediatric patients and the samples were examinated for HHV8 using the polymerase chain reaction technique (PCR). Our patient series included two females and four males, ages ranged from 6 to 16 years and the CD4 count ranged from 193 to 1046 cells/mm3. All patients presented chronic cough and progressive dyspnea. The radiological findings were diffuse ground glass opacities and bronchiectasis.
Results In three patients, PCR for HHV8 have shown positive results. All children with positive results for HHV8 have been living in the same institution, but with CD4 counts at different levels (193, 400 and 1046 cells/mm3) and also different histopathological findings (follicular bronchiolitis, lymphoid interstitial pneumonitis and bronchiolitis obliterans).
Conclusion To the best of our knowlegde, no further cases of HHV8-associated interstitial pneumonitis in pediatric HIV-positive children have been described. The role of HHV8 in pathogenesis of interstitial lung disease remains unknown. The presence of HHV8 in lung tissue of three children perinatally HIV infected living in the same environment highlights non-sexual transmission of HHV8 via saliva and perinatally, which has been described in late years.