Varicella-Zoster Strikes Again

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Varicella-Zoster Strikes Again

Postby dignan » Tue Apr 03, 2007 8:14 am

This study seems to confirm the work of Italian researchers posted a couple of months ago. Beware varicella-zoster.



Varicella-zoster virus at relapses of multiple sclerosis.

J Neurol. 2007 Mar 31;
Sotelo J, Ordonez G, Pineda B.
Neuroimmunology Unit, National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery of Mexico, Insurgentes Sur 3877, 14269, Mexico City, Mexico, jsotelo@servidor.unam.mx.

The possible participation of different herpes viruses was studied during exacerbations of multiple sclerosis (MS). We searched for the presence of DNA from the following herpes viruses: varicella zoster virus (VZV), herpes-simplex viruses 1 and 2; Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and human herpes-virus-6 (HHV6) in mononuclear cells from patients with MS during relapse (n = 40), MS during remission (n = 131) and controls (n = 125). Additionally, immune cells containing viral antigens were quantified by flow cytometry, and VZV load was determined by real time PCR in 2 MS patients at various times during relapse and remission.

DNA from VZV was found in 95% of MS patients during relapse and in 17% during remission; all controls were negative; by contrast, DNA from HHV6 was found in 24% of MS patients during relapse and in 2% during remission; DNA from herpes simplex viruses was not found in any subject; and DNA from EBV was found in a similar percentage of subjects from all groups. Sequential quantification of VZV-load showed a curve that increased during relapse and disappeared at remission. Also, VZV antigens were found inside a large number of immune cells from MS patients during relapse as compared with MS patients on remission and controls.

In the typical forms of VZV infection, varicella and herpes-zoster, DNA from VZV is found in mononuclear cells exclusively during brief periods at the beginning of the active infection, but not during latency; thus, the conspicuous presence of VZV during relapses of MS may indicate a period of active infection and suggests the participation of VZV in the pathogenesis of MS.

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Postby viper498 » Tue Apr 03, 2007 10:02 am

Isn't this statistically significant? This seems to very important to me. Maybe they are on to something here?
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Postby Lyon » Tue Apr 03, 2007 1:07 pm

That one is very interesting dignan, thanks for bringing it to our attention.

Considering my interest in the hygiene hypothesis it grabbed my attention that they mention they've noticed a north-south diminishing gradient for both diseases, MS and varicella in Mexico, with lower incidence than in countries located in the northern-hemisphere with temperate climate, where varicella is almost universal at early ages and MS is endemic. In Mexican patients with MS the antecedent of varicella infection during childhood and adolescence constitutes the main risk factor for MS as compared with paired controls and with the general population, in whom the history of varicella infection is found in less than fifty percent, which seems to align with the hygiene hypothesis.

I've always felt that the term "dormant" viruses and bacteria as seems to often be used in the MS world is misplaced. Millions/billions of years of evolution have only taught these viruses and bacteria to be opportunistic...it's not in them to wait patiently on the sidelines. The problem has been that, until now, it's been impossible to tie them with MS activity.

Others will find it interesting that the researchers feel their findings support the idea of earlier axon degeneration followed by myelin loss. They end with mention that they are currently conducting similar studies in cerebrospinal fluid and in patients with progressive forms of MS.

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