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Antiviral Res. 1999 Feb;41(1):1-19.

Herpesviruses--a rationale for antiviral treatment in multiple sclerosis.

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Department of Clinical Virology, Göteborg University, Sweden.


In multiple sclerosis (MS), the extensive and long lasting search for viruses or other pathogens has hitherto failed to identify a common etiological agent. However, the beneficial effects by interferon-beta treatment in MS, although suggested to depend mainly on immunomodulation, might lend support to a viral involvement in the pathogenesis. The human herpesviruses have attracted interest since their recurrent modes of infection share some similarity with the relapsing-remitting course of MS, most members are readily detected within the brain, and several of these viruses may induce demyelination within the central nervous system in human hosts as well as in animal models. Accumulated diagnostic and epidemiological data are compatible with a role for the herpesviruses as possible cofactors rather than etiological agents, and recent studies showing early neuronal damage in MS patients focus attention on the neurotropic alpha-herpesviruses. Antiviral treatment trials with safe and effective drugs such as valaciclovir offer a possibility of testing the hypotheses concerning herpesviral involvement in MS.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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