More MS news articles for August
Epstein-Barr Virus Reactivation Associated
With MS Disease Activity
WESTPORT, Jul 25 (Reuters Health) - Epstein-Barr virus may play an
indirect role in activating the underlying disease process of multiple
sclerosis (MS), according to data from a German study.
Dr. Klaus-Peter Wandinger of the University of Lubeck School of Medicine
and associates measured the prevalence of antibodies against herpesviruses,
including Epstein-Barr virus, in the sera of 108 MS patients and 163 healthy
control subjects. Antibodies against Epstein- Barr virus were present in
100% of the MS patients and in 90.1% of the control subjects.
In results reported in the July 25th issue of Neurology, serologic
signs of primary Epstein-Barr virus infection were noted in 3.7% of healthy
control subjects and in none of the MS patients. According to the researchers,
this indicates that Epstein-Barr virus infection is a prerequisite for
MS rather than a consequence of the disease.
The investigators also prospectively followed 19 MS patients monthly
for 1 year. Increased immunoglobulin M and A responses to Epstein-Barr
virus early antigens and positive serum DNA were observed in 72.7% of patients
with exacerbations during the study period. No Epstein-Barr virus DNA could
be amplified from the sera of clinically stable MS patients.
The authors theorize that Epstein-Barr virus reactivation may be indirectly
involved in MS pathogenesis. They also note that recent study findings
indicate that exacerbations are significantly reduced in MS patients treated
with acyclovir. Taken together, these data "suggest that a reduction of
Epstein-Barr virus replication in treated patients might likewise have
influenced the outcome of the trial."