Combining HLA-DR risk alleles and anti-Epstein-Barr virus antibody profiles to stratify multiple sclerosis risk

This study looked at the association between MS risk and anti-Epstein-Barr virus (EBV)-specific antibody levels in addition to HLA-DR profiles, gender and age in a population-based cohort involving 426 people with MS and 186 healthy controls.

The researchers found that people with MS had higher levels of antibodies against epitope-specific and polyspecific EBV nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA-1) and viral capsid antigen (VCA) compared to controls. When they looked at anti-EBNA-1, anti-VCA antibody levels, protective HLA-DR*04/07/09 alleles and gender, these contributed independently to a model that classified cases and controls with an odds ratio >20. This demonstrates that discriminating MS cases and controls can be substantially enhanced by including anti-EBV serology and HLA-DR risk profiles. This implicates HLA-dependent and HLA-independent immune responses against EBNA-1 as prominent disease risk factors as well as EBV-specific immunity in the pathogenesis of MS.

Authors: Strautins K, Tschochner M
Source: Mult Scler. 2013 Jul 25. [Epub ahead of print]

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