EBV Reactivation May Lead to Multiple Sclerosis Relapse

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multiple sclerosis

Patients with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) had relapses of their disease when the Epstein Barr virus switched from latent to active. – PLoS Pathogens (1)

Researchers from Italy propose that the inability to control the latent Epstein Barr Virus (EBV) when a Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patient is in remission, could allow the virus to reactivate, causing an MS relapse (1).

In an article published on June 12, 2013 on healthline.com, Dr. Steven Jacobson, Chief of the Viral Immunology Section at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, said that the results of the study “suggest a link between EBV reactivation, antiviral immune response, and disease activity during the relapsing-remitting stage of MS. (2)”

multiple sclerosis patient

Interestingly, “Thirteen cerebral tissue blocks from 7 MS cases (MS79, MS92, MS121, MS154, MS180, MS234, MS342) who died in the secondary progressive phase of MS and were characterized by substantial brain inflammation were analyzed in this study.

Tissues were provided by the UK Multiple Sclerosis Tissue Bank at Imperial College in London after collection via a prospective donor program with fully informed consent. Based on the available clinical documentation, all MS patients were in the progressive phase of the disease, and no immunotherapy is reported in the 6 months before death.” (1)

The bottom line here?

As Dr. Daniela F. Angelina and colleagues wrote, “It has long been known that multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with an increased Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) seroprevalence and high immune reactivity to EBV and that infectious mononucleosis increases MS risk.

This evidence led to postulate that EBV infection plays a role in MS etiopathogenesis.” (1) Dr. Angelina is from the Neuroimmunology Unit at Fondazione Santa Lucia-I.R.C.C.S. in Rome, Italy.

(1) Angelini DF1, Serafini B, Piras E, Severa M, Coccia EM, Rosicarelli B, Ruggieri S, Gasperini C, Buttari F, Centonze D, Mechelli R, Salvetti M, Borsellino G, Aloisi F, Battistini L. “Increased CD8+ T cell response to Epstein-Barr virus lytic antigens in the active phase of multiple sclerosis.” PLoS Pathog. 2013;9(4):e1003220.

(2) Burtchell, J. “Multiple Sclerosis and EBV: Relapsing Together” Published on June 12, 2013



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