More MS news articles for Nov 2001

Multiple sclerosis and multiple sclerosis-associated retrovirus in Sardinia

Neurological Sciences
Abstract Volume 22 Issue 2 (2001) pp 171-173
C. Serra (1), S. Sotgiu (2), G. Mameli (1), M. Pugliatti (2), G. Rosati (2), A. Dolei (1)
(1) Section of Microbiology, Department of Biomedical Sciences, University of Sassari, Viale San Pietro 10, I-07100 Sassari, Italy
(2) Institute of Clinical Neurology, University of Sassari, Sassari, Italy


The island of Sardinia has a high and increasing incidence of multiple sclerosis (MS).

In a search for environmental factors that may account for this anomalously high incidence, we looked for evidence of multiple sclerosis-associated retrovirus (MSRV) that has previously been found in the plasma and cerebrospinal fluid of MS patients.

We studied 25 MS patients and 25 matched healthy controls of ascertained Sardinian lineage. Blood samples were processed for extracellular RNA extraction.

RNAs underwent reverse transcription/nested polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) with primers specific for MRSV-pol gene.

We found a striking correlation between MSRV positivity and MS disease, but the virus was found also only in controls (100% and 12% respectively; Fisher's exact test, p<0.00001).

It is unclear whether MSRV exerts any pathogenic role in MS.

It is possible that this is simply an epiphenomenon, but even then, it may constitute a diagnostic marker.

© Springer-Verlag Italia 2001