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J Neuroimmunol. 2015 Aug 15;285:57-61. doi: 10.1016/j.jneuroim.2015.05.021. Epub 2015 May 21.

Gender influence in EBV antibody response in multiple sclerosis patients from Kuwait.

Author information

Human Genetics Unit, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Kuwait. Electronic address:
Division of Neurology, Department of Medicine, Amiri Hospital, Kuwait, Kuwait; Neurology Clinic, Department of Medicine, Dasman Diabetes Institute, Kuwait.
Molecular Pathology Unit, Department of Pathology, Faculty of Medicine, Kuwait University, Kuwait.



Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection is implicated with multiple sclerosis (MS) risk, exacerbation, and progression. The HLA-DRB1*1501 haplotype is a strong MS risk factor consistently documented in MS populations. There are no studies of EBV infections and HLA-DRB1*1501 haplotype associating with MS from Kuwait where MS prevalence has increased significantly.


To determine the association of EBV infection with MS incidence, and to investigate HLA-DRB1*1501 as a potential genetic risk factor for MS in Kuwait.


This is a case-control study involving 141 MS patients and 40 healthy controls. Antibody titers against EBV antigens' viral capsid antigen (VCA) and Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA1) were measured using enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. HLA-DRB1*1501 haplotype assessment was done using rs3135005 TaqMan genotyping assay.


Antibody titers against EBV were significantly elevated in MS patients compared to healthy controls (anti-EBNA1, p=0.008; anti-VCA, p=0.028). MS males had higher antibody titers to EBNA1 than healthy male controls (p=0.005) and female MS patients (p=0.03). HLA-DRB1*1501 haplotype genotypes failed to generate a risk association with MS or EBV antibody titers (p=0.6).


An increased immune response to EBV infection is associated with MS incidence influenced by the type of antigen and sex. HLA-DRB1*1501 haplotype is not associated with MS risk in our Kuwaiti MS cohort.


EBNA1; Epstein–Barr virus; HLA-DRB1*1501; Kuwait; Multiple sclerosis; VCA

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