More MS news articles for November 2000

Human Herpesvirus 6 and Multiple Sclerosis: Systemic Active Infections in Patients with Early Disease

Knox KK, Brewer JH, Henry JM, Harrington DJ, Carrigan DR
Institute for Viral Pathogenesis, Milwaukee, WI 53226, USA.

By means of immunohistochemical staining, cells actively infected with human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) were found in central nervous system tissues from 8 (73%) of 11 patients with definite multiple sclerosis (MS). Interestingly, 17 (90%) of 19 tissue sections showing active demyelination were positive for HHV-6-infected cells compared with only 3 (13%) of 23 tissue sections free of active disease (P<.0001). Central nervous system tissues from 2 of 28 normal persons and patients with other inflammatory demyelinative diseases were positive for HHV-6-infected cells (P<.0001), and the 2 positive cases were diagnosed as having HHV-6 leukoencephalitis. By use of a rapid culture assay, blood samples from 22 (54%) of 41 patients with definite MS were found to contain active HHV-6 infections, compared with 0 of 61 normal controls (P<.0001). No significant difference was found between HHV-6 viremia-positive and HHV-6 viremia-negative MS patients with respect to type of disease (relapsing/remitting or progressive). In contrast, patients with active HHV-6 viremia were significantly younger and had shorter durations of disease than did HHV-6 viremia-negative patients.
Clin Infect Dis 2000 Oct;31(4):894-903