The more I read about viruses and MS, the less I understand...
Herpesviruses and human endogenous retroviral sequences in the cerebrospinal fluid of multiple sclerosis patients.
Mult Scler. 2008 Jun;14(5):595-601.
Alvarez-Lafuente R, García-Montojo M, De Las Heras V, Domínguez-Mozo M, Bartolome M, Benito-Martin M, Arroyo R.
Servicio de Neurología, Hospital Clínico San Carlos, Madrid 28040, Spain. firstname.lastname@example.org
To analyze the possible role of human herpesvirus (HHVs) and human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) infection in multiple sclerosis (MS) pathogenesis.
A total of 92 cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples were collected: 48 from MS patients at the first clinically evident demyelinating event, 23 from patients with other inflammatory neurological diseases (OINDs) and 21 from patients with other non-inflammatory neurological diseases (ONINDs). Total DNA and RNA were isolated, and the prevalences and viral loads of herpes simplex virus (HSV), varicella-zoster virus (VZV), Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), cytomegalovirus (CMV), HHV-6, HERV-H and HERV-W in the CSF of MS patients and controls were evaluated using a quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction assay.
(i) For HSV, 1/48 (2.1%, 86 copies/ml of CSF) MS patients and 1/23 (4.3%, 115.2 copies/ml of CSF) OIND patients (a myelitis case) had HSV sequences in the CSF; (ii) for EBV, only 1/48 (2.1%, 72 copies/ml of CSF) MS patients was positive for EBV; (iii) for HHV-6, only 5/48 (10.4%) MS patients had HHV-6 genomes in their CSF (128.1 copies/ml of CSF); (iv) we did not find any positive cases for VZV, CMV, HERV-H and HERV-W among MS patients or controls; (v) no cases of co-infections were found; (vi) the whole prevalence of HHVs was 7/48 (14.6%) for MS patients and 1/44 (2.3%) for controls (p = 0.038).
The findings described here show that HHV infection is more frequent in the CSF of MS patients than in patients with other neurological diseases; however, only HHV-6 seems to be involved in the pathogenesis of MS in a subset of patients.