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Saliva Virus, Infertility Linked in Women – Beware of Kissing

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By    |   Friday, 08 Jul 2016 07:25 AM

A virus found in saliva could lead to infertility in women and can be passed along by kissing, according to a study in the medical journal PLOS One.

The HHV-6A virus, one of the human herpes viruses, has been linked to unexplained infertility in women, said The Telegraph in reporting on the study released a week ago. 

Infertility is generally defined as not being able to get pregnant after one year of unprotected sex, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention

About six percent of women 15 to 44 are affected by infertility issues, noted The Telegraph, and Science Daily noted that the reasons for infertility in 25 percent of women facing such issues were unexplained, leaving them with limited options beyond costly fertility treatments.

The PLOS One study detailed work by a team from the University of Ferrara in Italy that examined the uteruses of woman with "unexplained primary infertility," said The Telegraph. The researchers found the HHV-6A virus in 43 percent of the women examined.

"Viral infections have been considered as possible environmental factors in human infertility," said the study's authors. "In particular, herpes viruses have been implicated in male infertility, but no specific virus has yet been conclusively identified as associated with female infertility.

"In our report, 43 percent of endometrial epithelial cells from women with unexplained infertility were found positive for HHV-6A DNA, whereas no control women (with at least one previous successful pregnancy) harbored the virus." 

While the virus replicates in the salivary glands, it is normally not detectable in blood or saliva.

"This is a surprising discovery," said Anthony Komaroff, a professor at Harvard Medical School who has studied HHV-6, said, according to The Telegraph. "If confirmed, the finding has the potential to improve the outcome for a large subset of infertile women."

The study's authors said, though, that additional studies were needed to confirm the association of HHV-6A infection as a cause for unexplained primary female infertility.

"Indeed, there are several potential mechanisms by which HHV-6 might induce female infertility. Viral infections might trigger eNK cell functional modifications that could also induce aberrant expression of cytokines thereby promoting a dysfunctional uterine environment."

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A virus found in saliva could lead to infertility in women and can be passed along by kissing.
saliva, virus, infertility, link, women, kissing
Friday, 08 Jul 2016 07:25 AM
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