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A role for the Epstein–Barr virus in multiple sclerosis aetiology?

Hrastelj, J. and Robertson, N. P. ORCID: 2022. A role for the Epstein–Barr virus in multiple sclerosis aetiology? Journal of Neurology 269 (7) , pp. 3962-3963. 10.1007/s00415-022-11177-w

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The association between Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) and multiple sclerosis (MS) has been known for many years. EBV seropositivity in MS has been reported as 99.5–100% compared with ~ 94% in healthy adults, and MS is over twice as common in people who have had symptomatic infectious mononucleosis. Furthermore, patients with MS also have elevated antibodies to EBV nuclear antigens (EBNAs), and EBV has been isolated from MS demyelinating plaques. However, a causal relationship has yet to be fully established. The first paper discussed this month reports a striking temporal relationship between EBV seroconversion and MS onset in a large US military cohort. In the second paper, evidence is presented that suggests clonally expanded B cells in the CSF produce oligoclonal bands, as well as antibodies that cross-react with proteins expressed by EBV and oligodendrocytes. The final paper discussed this month reports that an EBV transcription factor occupies a large number of the MS genetic risk variants and this may at least partly explain how EBV infection and genetic risk intersect to cause MS.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Published Online
Status: Published
Schools: MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics (CNGG)
Additional Information: License information from Publisher: LICENSE 1: URL:, Type: open-access
Publisher: Springer
ISSN: 0340-5354
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 23 June 2022
Date of Acceptance: 3 May 2022
Last Modified: 02 May 2023 13:29

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