Herpes Simplex Virus Type 2 in MS
HSV-2 seroprevalence in London MS patients compared with London blood donors was significantly greater irrespective of age, but the MS seropositive rate was lower than GUM clinic attenders. In a logistic regression analysis, increased age, female sex and MS diagnosis all independently increased the odds of seropositivity after adjustment for each other. Conclusion - It is concluded that there is increased likelihood of HSV-2 exposure in patients with MS and this may indicate a higher than average number of partners.
So Ian, confession time for you and all the others in the UK.
On a serious note though, I get irked when I read things like this because next thing you know they’ll be counting our sexual partners. It might yield some leads, you never know.
Personally though, I also think they should be measuring, and if necessary, helping us all obtain DHEA levels that are in the normal range. Generally, people with MS (male and female) have low DHEA levels when compared to controls. Now, in that research they focused on herpes simplex virus type 2. In mice, DHEA protects against herpes simplex virus type 2.
Regulation of the Immune Response by DHEA
Dehydroepiandrosterone (5-androsten-3 beta-ol-17-one, DHEA) has been shown to protect mice from a variety of lethal infections. This includes, but is not limited to, infection with viruses (herpes virus type 2, coxsackie virus B4 (CB4)), bacteria (Enterococcus faecalis, Pseudomonas aeruginosa), and a parasite (Cryptosporidium parvum).
There’s also research suggesting a DHEA metabolite might help improve the immune response to viruses and limit virus-mediated damage.
Steroid Hormone Regulation of Antiviral Immunity
Stress disrupts homeostasis, and the body responds through endocrine and nervous system interactions in an effort to re-establish the health of the host. However, the resulting physiologic changes associated with stress, such as the rise in serum glucocorticoids (GCs), are implicated in suppression of antiviral immunity. Therefore, it would be of significance to counterregulate stress-mediated immunosuppression during viral infection to improve immune responses and limit virus-mediated damage. The data in this study focus upon the antiglucocorticoid influence of a native steroid hormone that has been shown to augment immune function and protect animals against lethal viral infections. Androstenediol (5-androstene-3 beta,17 beta-diol, AED), a metabolite of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), confers protection against lethal infection with influenza A virus.
The next researchers seem to think that a DHEA metabolite regulates both the innate and adaptive immune responses.
DHEA Metabolite (AED) Restores Responsiveness to Flu Vaccine
Androstenediol (AED), a metabolite of dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA) regulates innate and adaptive immune responses.
Finally, this last abstract, by implication, seems to suggest that DHEA levels are in fact a marker for “immune competence”. (It was a Vitamin E study in the elderly.)
….two biomarkers of immunocompetence, i.e. serum DHEA sulfate ester (DHEA-S) and neopterin, was studied.
Could it be that our immune systems are “off the mark” and we’re susceptible to viruses (bacteria and parasites too), including herpes simplex virus type 2, not necessarily just because we have a lot of sexual partners , but because we don’t typically have normal levels of DHEA? It seems like not enough DHEA, in and of itself, could theoretically make us more vulnerable and/or susceptible to viruses/bacteria than the average Jane or Joe. Who knows it might make us more susceptible to MS too since DHEA seems to be a marker of “immune competence”, protects against viruses (in mice) and seems to have the potential to improve the immune response to viruses and limit damage. (To say nothing about the fact it also opposes that stress hormone cortisol. )
Ok, I’ll get off my soapbox (only momentarily of course). I just think I'd like to see them doing more research on DHEA in people with MS and connecting some dots (that admittedly may or may not connect) instead of focusing on how many sexual partners we may or may not have had.