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Human herpesvirus DNA occurrence in intracranial aneurysmal wall: illustrative case

Nícollas Nunes Rabelo, Antonio Carlos Samaia da Silva Coelho, João Paulo Mota Telles, Giselle Coelho, Caio Santos de Souza, Tania Regina Tozetto-Mendoza, Natan Ponzoni Galvani de Oliveira, Paulo Henrique Braz-Silva, Manoel Jacobsen Teixeira, and Eberval Gadelha Figueiredo


Subarachnoid hemorrhages secondary to intracranial aneurysms (IAs) are events of high mortality. These neurological vascular diseases arise from local and systemic inflammation that culminates in vessel wall changes. They may also have a possible relationship with chronic viral infections, such as human herpesvirus (HHV), and especially Epstein–Barr virus (EBV), which causes several medical conditions. This is the first description of the presence of HHV deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in a patient with IA.


A 61-year-old woman with a downgraded level of consciousness underwent radiological examinations that identified a 10-mm ruptured aneurysm in the anterior communicating artery. A microsurgery clip was performed to definitively treat the aneurysm and occurred without surgical complications. Molecular analysis of the material obtained revealed the presence of EBV DNA in the aneurysm wall. The patient died 21 days after admission due to clinical complications and brain swelling.


This is the first description of the presence of herpesvirus DNA in a patient with IA, presented in 2.8% of our data. These findings highlight that viral infection may contribute to the pathophysiology and is an additional risk factor for IA formation, progression, and rupture by modulating vessel wall inflammation and structural changes in chronic infections.