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Friday, May 5, 2017

Cytomegalovirus Infection Worsens Multiple Sclerosis, Study in Mice Shows

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Cytomegalovirus Infection Worsens Multiple Sclerosis, Study in Mice Shows
A cytomegalovirus infection triggers an increase in inflammatory and cytotoxic immune cells in mice with multiple sclerosis (MS), which leads to enhanced inflammation and loss of nerve-protecting myelin.
A cytomegalovirus (CMV) infection leads to chronic activation of the immune system. One result is an increase in the number of immune cells called CD4+CD28null T-cells. High levels of this T-cell subgroup are associated with chronic inflammatory diseases.
Some previous studies have suggested a link between CMV infection and MS. But other studies have suggested that CMV-specific antibodies are associated with a better disease outcome, an increased age of disease onset, and decreased brain atrophy.
Researchers decided to see whether CMV is able to trigger an increase in CD4+CD28null T-cells, and how the infection impacts MS disease progression. The team used both mouse models and in vitro, or laboratory, work with human blood samples.
They observed that blood with a CMV infection had higher levels of CD4+CD28null T-cells than blood with no infection. The researchers also found that CMV peptides, or amino acids, increased the number of these cells in a lab.
CD4+CD28null T-cells are inflammatory, toxic cells found in MS lesions. Researchers discovered an increase in the cells in a mouse model of MS, and noted a correlation between the higher number and the severity of the disease. The used the established experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) mouse model of human MS.

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