Last review about EBV

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Last review about EBV

Post by frodo » Fri Jul 17, 2020 9:13 am

State of the Art and Future Challenges in Multiple Sclerosis Research and Medical Management: An Insight into the 5th International Porto Congress of Multiple Sclerosis ... 20-00202-7

Basic and Applied Molecular Research

Molecular research is a key field of MS investigation. As it would be impossible to discuss the multitude of interesting projects currently exploring MS-related molecular issues, two aspects were chosen to be presented at the 5th International Congress: the role of Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) infection in MS development, and the importance of identifying biomarkers and their potential in MS diagnosis and monitoring.

Gulfaraz Khan (United Arab Emirates University, UAE) dedicated his talk to the discussion of the role of EBV infection in MS immunopathology. EBV is an ubiquitous double-stranded DNA virus known to have tumourigenic properties. Its detection has been improved by a very specific and sensitive in situ hybridization technique developed by Khan and colleagues, which is based on the recognition of two small RNAs—EBER1 and EBER2 (EBV-encoded RNA 1 and 2)—that are expressed in all forms of infection known to date [108,109,110]. The association between EBV infection and MS has been studied for a long time, and numerous studies, such as those of Cepok et al. [111], Haahr et al. [112] and Ponsonby et al. [113], have provided indirect evidence suggesting the existence of a relationship. In fact, individuals with EBV immunoglobulins are at an increased risk of developing MS, and virtually all (99.5%) patients with MS are EBV seropositive. Moreover, the levels of anti-EBV antibodies and specific T cells are higher in MS patients when compared to controls both before and after disease onset. The first direct evidence of the EBV–MS link came from the study of Serafini et al., who detected EBV infection in brain-infiltrating B cells and plasma cells in 21 of 22 patients with MS [114].

Interestingly, at least three studies published afterwards found no evidence of such a link [115,116,117], which has been suggested to be a consequence of technical issues and different sampling procedures [118]. Khan’s group has recently examined 1055 samples extracted from MS and non-MS patients and shown that EBV is present in 91 of 101 (90%) MS patients, but in only five of 21 (24%) patients with other neurological conditions [119]. Moreover, none of the samples were positive for other common herpesviruses [HSV-1 (Herpes simplex virus 1), CMV [Cytomegalovirus], HHV-6 [Human Herpesvirus 6]) [119]. Interestingly, the virus was transcriptionally active in only a few of the cells, being latent in the majority of them, which may be a mechanism by which it escapes immune surveillance [119, 120].

Another interesting finding made by this group was that the virus was not only present in B cells, as expected, but also in astrocytes and microglia [119]. Khan and collaborators are currently working with an animal model of EBV infection [121], and the promising results from this study will certainly contribute to a better understanding of the impact of EBV in MS immunopathology.

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