More MS news articles for April 2002

Active Human Herpesvirus Six and Multiple Sclerosis: Clinical Treatment and Relationships

K.K. Knox¹, L.J. Lobeck², E.F. Maas², and D.R. Carrigan¹.
Institute for Viral Pathogenesis¹, 10437 Innovation Drive, Milwaukee, WI 53226
Wisconsin and Department of Neurology, Medical College of Wisconsin², 9200 W Wisconsin Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53226
Presented at the 54th American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting; April 2002

Several laboratories, including our own, have presented data linking the pathogenesis of MS to active HHV-6 infections. Blood samples were obtained at the time of new clinical relapse in patients with relapsing-remitting MS and assessed for active HHV-6 infection by plasma PCR.  Then, several weeks later (mean interval:68 days), a second blood sample was obtained from the same patients and assessed for active HHV-6 infection.  Patients' changes of Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) from the relapse and treatments at the time samples were obtained were noted.  Five of 39 (13%) patients had at least one sample positive for active HHV-6 infection. Variant typing of the positive samples was possible with 3 of the 5 positives, and 2 were HHV-6 variant A.  Four of the five (80%) positive samples were obtained at the time of relapse whereas only one (20%) positive was observed in a patient after relapse.  The HHV-6 positive patients suffered a larger change in their EDSS (mean EDSS change of 1.4) than the HHV-6 negative patients (mean EDSS change of 0.7). It was also found that the patients receiving either beta interferon or glatirimar acetate (copaxone) were less likely to be HHV-6 positive (2/30; 7%) than the patients receiving no treatment 3/9; 33%).  Since the majority (>75%) of the patients on therapy were receiving  beta interferon, the decreased positivity for active HHV-6 may reflect the known antiviral properties of beta interferon.


Patients And Methods

Patients and Controls

Detection of Active HHV-6 Infections by Plasma PCR


Characteristics of the MS patients who were positive for active HHV-6 Infection by plasma PCR (Table Below).

Relationship Between Positivity for Active HHV-6 Infection by Plasma PCR and Treatment Regimens

Relationship Between Positivity for Active HHV-6 Infection by Plasma PCR and Change in EDSS score by Disease Relapse

Relationship Between Tumor Necrosis Alpha (TNFa) And Active  HHV-6 Infection in MS Patients Conclusions

The major findings of these studies can be summarized as follows:


© 2001, 2002 Institute for Viral Pathogenesis