More MS news articles for July 2002

Multiple sclerosis and human herpesvirus 6

Infection 2002 Jun;30(3):145-9
Gutierrez J, Vergara MJ, Guerrero M, Fernandez O, Piedrola G, Morales P, Maroto MC.
Dept. of Microbiology, Faculty of Medicine, University Hospital San Cecilio, Granada, Spain.


A possible but as yet unproven relationship has been proposed between the onset or persistence of multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms and herpesviruses, including, most recently, human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6). A study was conducted to investigate the presence of HHV-6 DNA and the synthesis of antibodies against HHV-6, cytomegalovirus (CMV) and Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with MS.


PCR and ELISA were used to detect HHV-6 DNA and specific antibodies against HHV-6, CMV and EBV in 211 samples (139 sera and 72 CSF). There were three groups of samples: group I, paired samples of serum and CSF from 41 MS patients; group II, paired samples of serum and CSF from 31 patients with neurological diseases other than MS (OND); group III, 67 serum samples from 27 different MS patients undergoing serologic follow-up.


No HHV-6 DNA was found in any sample. Group I sera showed elevated anti-HHV-6 IgG and IgA levels. In group II, anti-CMV IgG was detected in one CSF sample and anti-HHV-6 IgM in one serum sample. Group III sera showed high concentrations of anti-HHV-6 IgG, IgA and IgM.


Given the clinical implications of the presence of antibodies against HHV-6 in MS patients, a viral reactivation cannot be excluded as an environmental factor.