Multiple Sclerosis and Epstein-Barr Virus
August 27, 2000
German researchers have demonstrated that there may be an association
between the Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) reactivation and disease activity
in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) patients over time.
108 MS patients and 163 controls were assessed for the prevalence
of antibodies against herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1), HSV-2,
EBV, and cytomegalovirus (CMV).
In contrast to the control populations, antibodies against
EBV were present in 100% of MS patients.
There was no significant differences between the groups for
the other viruses.
19 of the MS patients were then followed monthly for 1 year,
measuring active viral replication and it was noted that viral
reactivation was seen in 72.7% of patients with exacerbations
of their MS symptoms.
The authors suggest that EBV might play an indirect role in MS
as an activator of the underlying disease process. This could therefore,
have some clinical significance in the treatment of this difficult
Neurology July 25, 2000; 55:178-84