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Acta Neurol Scand. 2002 Feb;105(2):95-9.

Prevalence of herpesvirus DNA in MS patients and healthy blood donors.

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Clinical Microbiology Service, Hospital Clínico San Carlos, Madrid, Spain.



The aim of this study is to determine the DNA prevalence of different members of Herpesviridae in multiple sclerosis (MS) patients and to describe the possible effect of beta-interferon treatment on such prevalence.


With a nested polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay we have studied the DNA of the peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) of 204 whole blood samples, [102 from patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS), of which 62 were treated with beta-interferon, and 102 from healthy blood donors].


We only found a statistically significant difference for human herpesvirus type 6 (HHV-6) DNA prevalence (P < 0.0001): HHV-6 is 2.26 times more frequent in MS patients than in healthy donors. There was no difference in the HHV-6 prevalence between beta-interferon treated and untreated patients.


1. Among the herpesviruses, HHV-6 was the only one showing altered prevalence. This either indicates that HHV-6 is involved in the pathogenesis of MS, or it simply indicates that MS influences latency or reactivation of HHV-6 without any direct involvement of HHV-6 in the disease process of MS. 2. Treatment with beta-interferon does not make a difference on the DNA prevalence of the herpesviruses studied in our MS patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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