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Mayo Clin Proc. 2010 Nov;85(11):1023-30. doi: 10.4065/mcp.2010.0350. Epub 2010 Oct 6.

Human herpesvirus 6 infection as a trigger of multiple sclerosis.

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2nd Department of Neurology, Attikon University Hospital, University of Athens Medical School, Athens, Greece.


We systematically reviewed the existing evidence to determine whether a relationship exists between infection with human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) and multiple sclerosis (MS) and, if so, to define the strength of that relationship. The following terms were used in searches of the Entrez-PubMed database (1966-2009): human herpes virus 6, HHV 6, demyelination, multiple sclerosis, pathogenesis, diagnosis, serology, cerebrospinal fluid, IgG antibodies, IgM antibodies, PCR, and lymphoproliferative techniques. Study quality was assessed using the criteria proposed by Moore and Wolfson and by the classification criteria used by the Canadian Task Force on the Periodic Health Examination. Studies were categorized both by experimental technique and by quality (high [A], intermediate [B], and low [C]) as determined by the Moore and Wolfson criteria. Overall, 25 (41%) of 61 studies, 15 (60%) of which were classified as A quality, reached a statistically significant result. According to the Canadian Task Force classification, all studies were categorized as evidence of quality II-1. Limitations of the available experimental techniques and perspectives for future research are discussed. The current review supports the need for further, objective, evidence-based examination of the relationship between HHV-6 infection and multiple sclerosis.

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