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More MS news articles for December 2003

C. pneumoniae activity shown to trigger MS relapse

December 23, 2003
Boston Cure Project

A group of scientists in the Netherlands has found an association between Chlamydia pneumoniae (CP) infections and MS exacerbations. They followed 73 people with MS over a period of one to two years, taking blood samples every 8 weeks as well as during clinical exacerbations or infections. Using Chlamydia antibody assays to detect periods of infection, they found that 48 subjects had no CP infection during the study, but 15 had periodic acute (short-term) infections and 10 had chronic (long-term) infection.

The annual relapse rate for subjects prone to acute CP infections was much higher during infection periods (2.67) than outside those periods (0.87). The relapse rate for subjects with chronic infection was 1.61, and for those without any CP infection it was 1.08. Tests were performed to confirm the association between CP infections and relapses (e.g., other antibody levels were also measured to rule out elevation of a wide range of antibodies during exacerbation).

Previous studies of CP involvement in MS have produced conflicting results. Perhaps this study helps to explain this, showing that only approximately 1/3 of people with MS have a detectable CP infection. It also suggests that this subset of people with MS would benefit from antibiotics or other therapies designed to reduce CP activity.

"Chlamydia pneumoniae and the risk for exacerbation in multiple sclerosis patients."
Buljevac D, Verkooyen RP, Jacobs BC, Hop W, van der Zwaan LA, van Doorn PA, Hintzen RQ.
Ann Neurol. 2003 Dec;54(6):828-31

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