Posted by: Thixia | February 26, 2008

Epstein-Barr virus and MS

Integrating risk factors.
HLA-DRB1*1501 and Epstein-Barr virus in multiple sclerosis.

ABSTRACT BACKGROUND:

Individuals with high levels of antibodies to the Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA-1) have an increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS), but this association could be confounded by genetic susceptibility.

METHODS:

We conducted a nested case-control study including
148 women with MS (18 with blood collected before disease onset) and
296 age-matched healthy women

to determine whether the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) DRB1*1501 allele (DR15) and anti-Epstein-Barr virus (anti-EBV) antibody titers are independent risk factors for MS.

* Titers – The dilution of a serum containing a specific antibody at which the solution retains the minimum level of activity needed to neutralize or precipitate an antigen.

RESULTS:

The association between anti-EBNA-1 antibody titers and MS risk was not affected by adjustment for DR15 and was similar in DR15-positive and DR15-negative women. The relative risk of MS among DR15-positive women with elevated (>1:320) anti-EBNA-1 titers was ninefold higher than that of DR15-negative women with low (<1:80) anti-EBNA-1 titers.

CONCLUSIONS:

Anti-Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen 1 (anti-EBNA-1) antibody titers are a risk factor for multiple sclerosis (MS), independently from the DR15 allele. Carriers of the DR15 allele with elevated anti-EBNA-1 antibody titers may have a markedly increased risk of MS.

From:
Center for Neurologic Diseases,
Department of Neurology (P.L.D.J., D.A.H.), and

Channing Laboratory,
Department of Medicine (A.A.),
Brigham and Women’s Hospital and
Harvard Medical School,
Boston;
Harvard Medical School/Partners Healthcare Center for Genetics and Genomics (P.L.D.J., D.A.H.);
Broad Institute (P.L.D.J., J.D.R., D.A.H.),
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and
Harvard University, Cambridge;
Departments of Epidemiology (K.C.S., A.A.) and Nutrition (K.L.M., A.A.),
Harvard School of Public Health,
Cambridge, MA; and
University of Montreal (J.D.R.),
Montreal Heart Institute,
Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

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