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Arch Neurol. 2004 Apr;61(4):529-32.

Brief presence of varicella-zoster vral DNA in mononuclear cells during relapses of multiple sclerosis.

Author information

1
Neuroimmunology Unit, National Institute of Neurology and Neurosurgery of Mexico, Mexico City.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

A possible viral cause for multiple sclerosis (MS) has long been suspected. A progressive increase in MS has been reported in Mexico during the past 20 years; a conspicuous antecedent of varicella infection during childhood has been the most relevant finding in the medical history of patients with MS.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the possible participation of varicella-zoster virus (VZV) in the etiopathogenesis of MS.

DESIGN, SETTING, AND PATIENTS:

We searched, by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), for VZV DNA in peripheral mononuclear cells of 82 patients with relapsing-remitting MS. Additionally, genes gD from herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2 were sought by PCR, as well as IgG and IgM serum antibodies to VZV.

RESULTS:

Viral DNA from the genes open reading frame (ORF)31, ORF62, ORF63, and ORF67 of VZV was found in mononuclear cells from 13 (87%) of 15 patients with MS who were tested during acute relapse. All patients who were tested during remission (n = 67) were negative for the DNA, including patients who were initially positive and were tested again after 2 months of remission. All control patients with a comprehensive variety of neurologic diseases (n = 100) and healthy controls (n = 20) also tested negative. All subjects were negative for herpes simplex viruses 1 and 2 DNA, and no differences were found in serum antibodies to VZV.

CONCLUSIONS:

The finding of genes of VZV in peripheral mononuclear cells, restricted to a brief period during clinical relapse of MS, suggests either its participation in the etiopathogenesis of MS or an epiphenomenon of viral activation simultaneous with the relapse of MS.

PMID:
15096401
DOI:
10.1001/archneur.61.4.529
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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