The association between Epstein-Barr Virus and MS has been studied for a long time and continues to be a topic of significant interest. I was curious to see just how long this has been going on. References to EBV and MS in Pubmed start in the mid-1970s.
Anyhow, just for fun (ok, maybe not fun...) here are a few examples of Pubmed article abstracts that are all AT LEAST 20 years old:
Arch Neurol. 1980 Feb;37(2):94-6.
Epstein-Barr virus antibodies in multiple sclerosis.
Sumaya CV, Myers LW, Ellison GW.
Serum antibody titers to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), an agent that persists in a latent form after the initial infection, were determined in 157 patients with multiple sclerosis and in 81 control subjects. Two patients (1.3%) and five control subjects (6.2%) lacked antibodies to EBV. In the subjects with antibodies, the prevalence of high titers (greater than or equal to 1:160) was significantly greater in patients, 69 (44.5%), than in control subjects, 22 (28.9%). The geometric mean titer of antibodies to EBV was significantly higher in patients, 107.0, than in control subjects, 77.1. There was no association between antibody titers and duration or activity of the disease. These findings further support the contention that patients with multiple sclerosis have a general aberration of the immunological system.
Arch Neurol. 1983 Jul;40(7):406-8.
Epstein-Barr virus infection and antibody synthesis in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Bray PF, Bloomer LC, Salmon VC, Bagley MH, Larsen PD.
We studied infectious and immune mechanisms in demyelinating disease. The clinical diagnosis in this study of 313 consecutive cases of multiple sclerosis (MS) was based on the clinical conclusions of two or more neurologists and definite abnormalities in CSF IgG. Measurement of antibodies to six microbial agents was compared in 313 patients with MS and 406 controls in the same age range. Using a standardized immunofluorescent antibody (IFA) technique, we found a significantly higher prevalence of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection and a higher level of serum viral capsid antigen IgG antibody titer in the MS population than in the controls. The MS population had a lower cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection rate and lower CMV complement fixing antibody production than controls. Except for the higher measles infection rate and antibody titer in patients with MS, data on the other viruses did not differ from controls.
Neurology. 1985 Mar;35(3):435-8.
Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen and viral capsid antigen antibody titers in multiple sclerosis.
Larsen PD, Bloomer LC, Bray PF.
To characterize the antibody response to the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in MS, we studied serum anti-EBV nuclear antigen (anti-EBNA) and anti-EBV capsid antigen (anti-EBVCA) titers. Both titers were assayed in 93 age- and sex-matched pairs of MS patients and controls. Anti-EBVCA titers were measured by indirect immunofluorescence and anti-EBNA titers by anticomplement immunofluorescence. The seropositivity rate of both anti-EBVCA and anti-EBNA in MS patients was 100%, compared with 84% in controls (p less than 0.0001). Both anti-EBVCA and anti-EBNA titers were significantly higher in MS patients than in controls (p less than 0.0001). The data suggest that EBV has a significant seroepidemiologic association with MS, but they do not define what role EBV antibodies play in the pathogenesis of the disease.
Ann Neurol. 1985 Apr;17(4):371-7.
Increased prevalence and titer of Epstein-Barr virus antibodies in patients with multiple sclerosis.
Sumaya CV, Myers LW, Ellison GW, Ench Y.
The prevalence and titer of serum antibodies to several Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) antigens were compared among patients with multiple sclerosis, healthy siblings of multiple sclerosis patients, patients with other neurological diseases, and healthy non-blood-related subjects. Serum-cerebrospinal fluid (serum-CSF) pairs were available on a selected number of multiple sclerosis and control subjects. An increased antibody response to EBV antigens was noted rather consistently in the sera of the multiple sclerosis group in comparison with the control groups. A greater number of reduced ratios of serum:CSF IgG antibody to EBV-capsid antigen and antibody to EBV-early antigen components than to adenovirus, a reference or control virus, were found in the multiple sclerosis group. Reduced ratios of these EBV antibodies were detected more frequently or showed a trend in this direction in multiple sclerosis patients compared with the group with other neurological diseases. Our findings extend the results of an earlier report and strengthen the association between EBV and multiple sclerosis.
Neurology. 1985 Aug;35( 8 ):1176-80.
Viral antibodies in twins with multiple sclerosis.
Woyciechowska JL, Dambrozia J, Leinikki P, Shekarchi C, Wallen W, Sever J, McFarland H, McFarlin D.
Viral antibodies to measles, rubella, corona, vaccinia, and mumps viruses in serum and CSF (and to Epstein-Barr virus in serum only) were studied in 24 twin pairs, both discordant and concordant for clinical MS. In pairs, CSF antibody titers for rubella in MS monozygotic and dizygotic twins and for vaccinia in dizygotic twins were higher than for unaffected twins. Increased CSF titers among MS twins existed for measles, rubella, and vaccinia when pairing was ignored. Among MS twins, serum rubella and measles and CSF measles antibody titers, and CSF:serum ratios for measles virus, were higher in those who were DW2 positive.