Effects of treatment of MSers with IFN-β on elements of the antiviral immune response to herpesviruses were analysed in a longitudinal study. These investigators found significantly increased seroreactivity (antibodies) to EBV EBNA-1, and to VZV (Varicella-Zoster or chicken pox virus), in patients who did not respond to IFN-β therapy. We found no significant changes in seroreactivity to EBV EA (early antigen), or to HSV (herpes simplex virus, cold sores or genital herpes). For the same MS cohort, they have previously demonstrated significant decreases in seroreactivities to envelope antigens for the two human endogenous retroviruses HERV-H and HERV-W, closely linked to efficacy of therapy. They further searched for correlations between seroreactivities to EBV, HSV, and VZV, and levels of mannan-binding lectin (MBL), and MBL-associated serine protease 3. They found no such correlations. Their results are in accord with recent reports of increased seroreactivity to EBV EBNA-1, and to VZV in active MS, and support the herpesviruses EBV and VZV together with HERV-H/HERV-W and the antiviral immune response may play a role in MS development.
“Interferons are molecules that prevent viral replication; i.e. they are antivirals, which is why they were tried in MS. These results give us a clue to why interferons may work in MS and what the triggers are that cause MS. This is why we are so interested in testing anti-viral agents in MS. Please see the page on the blog on the Charcot Project.”