Groundbreaking Research Establishes Epstein-Barr Virus as Key Player in Multiple Sclerosis



Groundbreaking Research Establishes Epstein-Barr Virus as Key Player in Multiple Sclerosis

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, progressive central nervous system disease that appears in a variety of ways. It’s a difficult condition with a wide range of symptoms and a non-linear progression. MS is assumed to be an autoimmune disorder in which the immune system attacks nerve fibers protected by myelin sheaths. 

Although it is unknown what causes multiple sclerosis, scientists believe genetics and the environment both have a role. According to studies conducted at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, new data reveals that the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) may be associated with multiple sclerosis (MS). Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms have been related to antibodies that form in response to an EBV infection and mistakenly attack proteins in the brain and spinal cord. 

Multiple sclerosis (MS) symptoms are well-known for their variety from person to person. Lethargy, difficulty walking, muscle weakness, numbness or tingling, difficulty balance, hazy vision, and mental fogginess are common indications and symptoms. These symptoms can have a significant impact on a person’s daily life and quality of life. 

According to Science and as reported by The Print, the Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) may play a role in the start and progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). Antibodies produced in response to EBV infection can misidentify and assault a protein in the central nervous system, causing injury. 

Blood samples were taken from over 700 persons with multiple sclerosis and 700 healthy people. Antibodies that ordinarily bind to an EBV protein called EBNA1 were discovered to bind to a protein called CRYAB in the brain and spinal cord. CRYAB serves to keep proteins from clumping together during times of cellular stress, such as inflammation. MS symptoms caused by antibody misdirection and cross-reaction include impaired balance and mobility, as well as excessive fatigue. Only 7% of people in the control group had these misdirected antibodies, whereas 23% of MS sufferers did. 

Olivia Thomas, co-author and postdoctoral researcher at Karolinska Institute’s Department of Clinical Neuroscience, emphasizes the significance of the findings, saying, “MS is an incredibly complex disease, but our study provides an important piece in the puzzle and could explain why some people develop the disease.” 

T cells are an example of an immune cell, and the findings suggest that they may play a role in the observed cross-reactivity. The researchers intend to delve deeper into the association between EBV infection and T cell defense, as well as their possible function in nerve injury in MS. 

Among the many institutions that contributed funds to the study were Vinnova, Sweden’s innovation agency, the Swedish Research Council, and the Swedish Brain Foundation. It should be noted that several of the authors have disclosed potential conflicts of interest, such as ties with NEOGAP Therapeutics AB and Cellerys, as well as grants and revenues from other companies. 

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