21st Congress of the European Committee for the Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis
10th Annual Meeting of the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis

28.09.2005 - 01.10.2005
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Home - 30.09.2005 - MS and infections


MS and infections

Friday, September 30, 2005, 15:30 - 17:00

Human herpesvirus 6-7-8 and Chlamydia pneumoniae infection in multiple sclerosis

C. Boz, V. Altunayoglu, O. Acar, S. Gazioglu, M. Ozmenoglu (Trabzon, TR)

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is believed to have an infectious component, and several microorganisms have been associated with the disease during the last three decades. Recent studies have implicated both human herpesviruses (HHV) and the obligate intracellular bacterium Chlamydia pneumoniae in the etiology of MS, however, results from different studies are conflicting.
In this study, we aimed to investigate the presence of HHV-6-7-8 and Chlamydia pneumonia infection in patients suffering from MS. We examined the frequency of detection of HHV-6, HHV-7 and HHV-8 genome in peripheral mononuclear cells from 92 relapsing MS patients (31 in relapse, 61 in remission) and from healthy (n=14) and neurological (n=36) controls. Cerebrospinal fluid samples from 30 MS patients and from 30 age-matched controls were analysed by a nested polymerase chain reaction for Chlamydia pneumoniae.
The PCR of HHV-6 DNA in peripheral mononuclear cells was found positive in 21.7% (20 patients, 16 in remission, 4 in exacerbation) of patients with MS vs 10% (5 subjects) in the control group (p<0.05). We did not find any significant correlation between the detection of serum HHV-6 DNA and clinical exacerbations in MS. The HHV-7 DNA was found positive in 53 (57.6%) of the 92 MS patients and in 14 (28%) of the 50 control group patients. The difference between groups was not statistically significant (p=0,639). The HHV-8 DNA and Chlamydia pneumoniae DNA in CSF was not detected in any of the MS and control group patients.
The findings of this study have confirmed previous reports supporting an association between MS and HHV-6, and suggest a role for this human herpesvirus in the pathogenesis of MS. This study does not support the theory of an association between MS and HHV-7, HHV-8 and Chlamydia pneumoniae.