Could interferon-beta be working via suppressing lytic EBV infection? #MSBlog #MSResearch
"An interesting observation from this study is that IgM antibodies to the viral capsid antigen (VCA) predicted a treatment response to IFNbeta. This will need to be confirmed. IgM antibodies are usually produced as part of the initial immune response and disappear after a few months. VCA is a protein that is expressed as part of active EBV infection; i.e. when the virus is in its so called lytic phase. Lytic or cell lysis simple refers to the bursting open of the cell to release active viral particles. Does this suggest that MSers who have active lytic EBV infection are more likely to respond to interferon-beta? This would be worth exploring further in larger data sets."
From the Newfoundland and Labrador Public Health Laboratory.
Epub: Kvistad et al. Antibodies to Epstein-Barr virus and MRI disease activity in multiple sclerosis. Mult Scler. 2014 May 19. pii: 1352458514533843.
BACKGROUND: Previous reports indicate an association between Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antibody levels and MS disease activity, but the results have been conflicting.
OBJECTIVES: The objective of this paper is to study if EBV antibody levels reflect MRI disease activity in MS and examine the potential for EBV antibody levels as biomarkers for treatment response.
METHODS: A total of 87 MSers were followed for two years prior to and during interferon beta (IFNB) treatment, with MRI examinations and serum measurement of IgM and IgG antibodies to viral capsid antigen (VCA), EBV nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA-1) and early antigen (EA). Associations between EBV antibody levels and MRI activity were assessed by a logistic regression model.
RESULTS: Higher anti-EBNA-1 IgG levels were associated with increased MRI activity, OR = 2.95 (95% CI 1.07-8.10; p = 0.036) for combined unique activity (CUA; the sum of T1Gd+ lesions and new or enlarging T2 lesions). Although most MSers were anti-VCA IgM negative, there was an inverse association, OR = 0.32 (95% CI 0.12-0.84; p = 0.021) with CUA during IFNB treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: This study supports an association between anti-EBNA-1 IgG levels and MS disease activity. We also found an inverse association with anti-VCA IgM levels during IFNB treatment not previously described, indicating anti-VCA IgM as a possible biomarker for IFNB treatment response.