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Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Research Unveil Another Possible Epstein-Barr Virus Link to MS

April 24, 2018 - Ed Tobias


Epstein-Barr virus and MS
For years researchers have believed a link exists between the Epstein-Barr virus(EBV) and multiple sclerosis. But scientists have had a hard time finding a precise association.
Now, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) are reporting another possible connection. Researchers at the Center for Autoimmune Genomics and Etiologyat Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center have found a viral protein in EBV-infected cells. They think that the protein may turn on a “switch” that activates genes that are associated with an increased risk of autoimmune diseases. MS, of course, is an autoimmune disease.
Most people are infected with EBV. According to the Centers for Disease Control, it’s one of the most common human viruses. It usually appears in early childhood and its symptoms are generally very mild or don’t appear at all. But the EBV infection remains with people.
Scientists know that the EBV infection can produce a protein called EBNA2. In this new research, they found that EBNA2 activates some of the human genes associated with the risk of lupus and several other autoimmune diseases, including multiple sclerosis. Simply put, it flips that autoimmune disease “switch.”
“These findings suggest that EBV infection in cells can actually drive the activation of these genes and contribute to an individual’s risk of developing the disease,” said lead researcher John B. Harley, MD, PhD, in an NIH news release.

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