All About Multiple Sclerosis

More MS news articles for March 2003

Infectious agents and multiple sclerosis-are Chlamydia pneumoniae and human herpes virus 6 involved?

J Neuroimmunol 2003 Mar;136(1-2):1-8
Swanborg RH, Whittum-Hudson JA, Hudson AP.
Department of Immunology and Microbiology, Wayne State University School of Medicine, Gordon H. Scott Hall, 540 East Canfield Avenue, 48201, Detroit, MI, USA

A good deal of evidence suggests an infectious component in the development of multiple sclerosis (MS) and, to date, some 20 bacteria and viruses have been associated with the disease.

Recent independent sets of studies have implicated the respiratory bacterium Chlamydia pneumoniae and human herpes virus 6 (HHV-6) in the pathogenesis of MS.

However, as is the case for essentially all earlier microbial associations, experimental evidence linking either this bacterium or this virus to MS is equivocal.

We review the published reports concerning involvement of C. pneumoniae and HHV-6 in MS, and data relating to possession of the APOE varepsilon 4 allele, which some studies indicate might influence how these or other pathogens affect disease genesis.

Based on the large set of inconsistent observations available and given important new information regarding the neuropathology of MS, we contend that no conclusion is possible at this point regarding the potential role of either C. pneumoniae or HHV-6 in MS.

We therefore propose future studies that should clarify whether, and if so how, these and other organisms function in the pathogenesis of this disease.