Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Linking Epstein-Barr Virus To Multiple Sclerosis

Date:
September 15, 2009
Source:
Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Immunologie e.V./German Society for Immunology
Summary:
Over the last 40 years, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been repeatedly associated with multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases. Researchers offer new data that further support the link. In the brain lesions of patients with multiple sclerosis her team found abnormal accumulation of EBV infected B lymphocytes. Similar findings were made in the pathological tissues of patients with other autoimmune diseases.

Over the last 40 years, Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) has been repeatedly associated with multiple sclerosis and other autoimmune diseases. During the 2nd European Congress of Immunology ECI 2009 held in Berlin, Francesca Aloisi, Istituto Superiore di Sanitΰ, Rome, will present new data* that further support the link. In the brain lesions of patients with multiple sclerosis her team found abnormal accumulation of EBV infected B lymphocytes. Similar findings were made in the pathological tissues of patients with other autoimmune diseases.

Related Articles


Multiple sclerosis is the most common inflammatory disease of the central nervous system affecting young adults. Similarly to other chronic inflammatory diseases, like rheumatoid arthritis and systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis is thought to result from an inappropriate attack of the immune system toward selected body components, a process named autoimmunity. In the case of multiple sclerosis, the immune system is thought to attack myelin, the lipid-rich sheath coating our nerves.

To date neither the causes nor the cure of this highly disabling disease have been identified. A detailed knowledge of the cause(s) and the pathogenesis is needed to develop effective new options for therapy and prevention. Viruses have always attracted the interest of immunologists as possible triggers of autoimmune diseases due to their ability to interfere with the host’s immune system. One of the most ubiquitous viruses, EBV, which infects up to 95 % of the human population worldwide, has been repeatedly associated with multiple sclerosis through epidemiological and serological studies, but direct proof of its involvement was missing. The virus has the ability to hide in a particular population of immune cells, the B lymphocytes, remaining in a relatively dormant state for the entire life of the host. However, when not properly controlled by the immune system, EBV can reactivate causing tumours.

At the end of 2007, Aloisi and co-workers showed that EBV is present in brain lesions of patients with multiple sclerosis and that the virus is brought into the central nervous system by B lymphocytes, which behave as Trojan horses for the virus. They also showed that the infected B cells present in the brain become the target of an immune attack, thus promoting the chronic inflammation which leads to tissue destruction. „This raises the suspicion that EBV and its Trojan horses are the main cause of brain damage in multiple sclerosis“, Aloisi says.

The scientists demonstrated that abnormal accumulation of EBV infected B lymphocytes is also found in pathological tissues in other autoimmune diseases. „These findings reinforce the long-held view that EBV might be involved in several autoimmune diseases and represent a step forward in the effort to understand the mechanisms underlying the development of autoimmunity. One of the main challenges for the future will be to understand whether preventing or counteracting EBV infection will have a beneficial impact on autoimmune diseases.”

*This project is supported by the FP6 EU Programme


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Immunologie e.V./German Society for Immunology. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Immunologie e.V./German Society for Immunology. "Linking Epstein-Barr Virus To Multiple Sclerosis." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090914111535.htm>.
Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Immunologie e.V./German Society for Immunology. (2009, September 15). Linking Epstein-Barr Virus To Multiple Sclerosis. ScienceDaily. Retrieved November 1, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090914111535.htm
Deutsche Gesellschaft fuer Immunologie e.V./German Society for Immunology. "Linking Epstein-Barr Virus To Multiple Sclerosis." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/09/090914111535.htm (accessed November 1, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Melafind: Spotting Melanoma Without a Biopsy

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) — The MelaFind device is a pain-free way to check suspicious moles for melanoma, without the need for a biopsy. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Battling Multiple Myeloma

Battling Multiple Myeloma

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) — The answer isn’t always found in new drugs – repurposing an ‘old’ drug that could mean better multiple myeloma treatment, and hope. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Chronic Inflammation and Prostate Cancer

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) — New information that is linking chronic inflammation in the prostate and prostate cancer, which may help doctors and patients prevent cancer in the future. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Sickle Cell: Stopping Kids’ Silent Strokes

Ivanhoe (Oct. 31, 2014) — Blood transfusions are proving crucial to young sickle cell patients by helping prevent strokes, even when there is no outward sign of brain injury. Video provided by Ivanhoe
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins