16 NOVEMBER 2000
Contact: Jim Sliwa
American Society for Microbiology
Contrary to previously published reports, the organism Chlamydia pneumoniae may not play a role in the development of multiple sclerosis after all. Researchers from the State University of New York in Brooklyn, Hahnemann University in Philadelphia and Umea University in Sweden report their findings in the November 2000 issue of the Journal of Clinical Microbiology. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease of the central nervous system (CNS) in which the immune system attacks the insulation that protects nerve fibers and promotes nerve impulse transmission. The exact cause of the disease is not known but some recent studies had found high levels of C. pneumoniae in the CNS of patients with MS suggesting that the organism may play a role in the development of the disease. In the study published this month, the researchers studied brain tissues taken from both MS patients and controls post mortem and tested for the presence of C. pneumoniae. All results were negative. No specimens were found to be infected. "In conclusion our studies on brain tissues do no confirm the recent identification of C. pneumoniae in the cerebrospinal fluid of MS patients," say the researchers.
M. Hammerschlag, Z. Ke, F. Lu, P. Roblin, J. Boman and B. Kalman. 2000.
Is Chlamydia pneumoniae in brain lesions of patients with multiple sclerosis?
Journal of Clinical Microbiology, 38: 4274-4276.)