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Anti-HHV-6 IgG titer significantly predicts subsequent relapse risk in multiple sclerosis


Simpson Jr, S and Taylor, B and Dwyer, DE and Taylor, J and Blizzard, L and Ponsonby, AL and Pittas, F and Dwyer, T and Van der Mei, I, Anti-HHV-6 IgG titer significantly predicts subsequent relapse risk in multiple sclerosis, Multiple sclerosis journal, 18, (6) pp. 799-806. ISSN 1477-0970 (2012) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright 2012 The Authors

DOI: doi:10.1177/1352458511428081


Background: Some of the strongest associations with MS onset are for human herpesviruses, particularly Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) and human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6). Their role in MS clinical course is less clear, however.

Methods: Prospective cohort of 198 persons with clinically definite MS, followed 2002–5, and serum samples obtained from all subjects at study entry to measure anti-HHV-6 and anti-EBV (Epstein–Barr nuclear antigen [EBNA] and viral capsid antigen [VCA]) IgG titers. Association with relapse evaluated using survival analysis; association with disability/progression evaluated using linear regression or multilevel mixed-effects linear regression.

Results: For the 145 persons with relapsing–remitting MS followed beyond one review, anti-HHV-6 IgG titer was positively associated with the hazard of relapse with a dose-dependent trend (p = 0.003), not affected by adjustment for anti-EBV IgG titers, neither of which were independently associated with relapse. There was no significant association between anti-human herpesvirus IgG titers and baseline-measured disability scores, or change in disability scores; however, anti-HHV-6 IgG titers were 2.8 times higher among progressive-course females than progressive-course males.

Discussion: These findings suggest that, in addition to a potential etiological role in MS, HHV-6 infection or the immune response to HHV-6 antigens may have an effect on the risk of MS relapses and possibly on progressive courses of MS. The observed effect was directly related to anti-HHV-6 IgG titers and may indicate that either HHV-6 infection or factors associated with an altered humoral immune response to HHV-6 may have an effect on MS clinical course. Anti-HHV-6 IgG titer may be a useful prognostic factor in relapsing–remitting MS clinical course.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:epidemiology, Epstein–Barr virus, human herpesvirus 6, multiple sclerosis
Research Division:Health Sciences
Research Group:Epidemiology
Research Field:Epidemiology not elsewhere classified
Objective Division:Health
Objective Group:Clinical health
Objective Field:Clinical health not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Simpson Jr, S (Dr Steve Simpson JR)
UTAS Author:Taylor, B (Professor Bruce Taylor)
UTAS Author:Blizzard, L (Professor Leigh Blizzard)
UTAS Author:Pittas, F (Dr Fotini Pittas)
UTAS Author:Van der Mei, I (Professor Ingrid van der Mei)
ID Code:75750
Year Published:2012 (online first 2011)
Funding Support:National Health and Medical Research Council (490020)
Web of Science® Times Cited:33
Deposited By:Menzies Institute for Medical Research
Deposited On:2012-02-14
Last Modified:2018-12-10
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