Monday, 10 September 2012

Research: Early Viruses


INTRODUCTION: Multiple sclerosis is a chronic inflammatory, autoimmune, demyelinating, disease but also degeneration of axons, with mainly progressive course, causing greater or lesser degree of disability. In addition to genetic predisposition the environmental factors, with particular importance of early viral infection, have an essential role in the development of MS. These are called long-acting viruses that remain hidden in the body for years by encouraging latent immunological changes in the body, eventually resulting in autoimmune demyelination and the appearance of disease symptoms, which confirms the high titre of antibodies to certain viruses in patients with the MS. 

GOAL: Goal of this study is to analyze the incidence of early infection with rubella virus, herpes simplex, cytomegalovirus and Epstein-Barr, in MS patients using titers of IgG and IgM antibodies.

MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study included patients treated at the Neurology Clinic in Sarajevo, with a diagnosis of multiple sclerosis (newly discovered) in the period January 2009-December 2011. To all patients beside history and neurological examination and tests to confirm the MS (brain MRI, evoked potentials and CSF examination) made serological tests for viruses, HSV, Rubella virus, cytomegalovirus and Ebstain-Barr's virus, with reference to the previous parameters (old) and new viral infection.

RESULTS: In this period there were 118 newly diagnosed multiple sclerosis from which 69.5% (82) female and 30.5% (36) male patients aged 23-56 years. IgG antibodies to herpes simplex virus was positive in 93.2% (110 patients) (72 F and 38 M and IgM only in 0.84% (1 patient). IgG to Cytomegalovirus was positive in 86.44% (102 subjects, 71 females and 31 males), while IgM was negative in whole sample. IgG Rubella virus was positive in 61.01% (72 patients, 52 F and 20 M) and IgM was negative in all, while IgG in EBV was positive in 83% (98 patients).

CONCLUSION: Early infection by herpes simplex virus, cytomegalovirus, Epstein-Barr and Rubella is present in patients with multiple sclerosis in a significant number.


This study aimed to look at the presence of viral infections in newly diagnosed MSers. They found that MSers had evidence of prior infections with loads of viruses, including only 86% EBV. So does viral infection link with MS well we do not really known. The problem with this study is that there are no controls to see how common these viruses were within the general population. If we new this then one may get more of an impression about how viruses can affect MS.

7 comments:

  1. so - it is not a 100% EBV prevalence!

    Would love to read Prof. G thoughts on this.

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    1. They need to use two assays and not rely on standard screening serology; the latter gives you a lot of false negatives. This is what our paper showed! You must also remember that not everything that is labelled as being MS is MS; we make a mistake in 2-5% of cases!

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  2. Pity they did not include Chlamydia Pn. antibodies in this study as well. Then we would have the full picture. On the other side, it has also been proved in the past that a high prevalence of other antibodies (for example to Candida Albicans) in MSers. In total more than 10 different antibodies. Is this the reason why all therapies are found downstream? (interfering with the full inmune system)

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  3. Why is VZV (Varizella Zoster) spared out?

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  4. My son has MS.In the process of being diagnosed he was checked for viruses such as CMV, rubella, parvovirus,toxoplasma,VZV but not EBV. Is there not a common practice of which viruses to test for? I think they are all fairly common in the general population anyway. 5 years before he developed MS when he was in his teens his blood was tested to see if he was a potential bone marrow donor for his brother, and I think he is still on the register.He's been asked to take part in a research project on genes and MS. Do you think they'd be interested in his bloodwork prior to developing MS to see what his viral load was then- I presume his genes would be the same.

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  5. I have loads of high viral loads not just EBV. I think it's maybe the sum of all viruses not one specific. I can also remember a bad case of pox I had in my early twenties and boom, a few years later I was diagnosed with MS.

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    1. Snap! I too got chicken pox 48 hours after finishing my last A' Level exam and got PPMS afew years after.

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