Complete Epstein-Barr virus seropositivity in a large cohort of patients with early multiple sclerosis

Sargis Abrahamyan, Sargis Abrahamyan, Bettina Eberspächer, Muna Miriam Hoshi, Lilian Aly, Felix Luessi, Sergiu Groppa, Luisa Klotz, Sven G. Meuth, Christoph Schroeder, Thomas Grüter, Björn Tackenberg, Friedemann Paul, Friedemann Paul, Florian Then-Bergh, Tania Kümpfel, Frank Weber, Martin Stangel, Antonios Bayas, Brigitte WildemannChristoph Heesen, Uwe Zettl, Clemens Warnke, Clemens Warnke, Gisela Antony, Nicole Hessler, Heinz Wiendl, Stefan Bittner, Bernhard Hemmer, Ralf Gold, Anke Salmen, Klemens Ruprecht

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective To determine the prevalence of antibodies to Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) in a large cohort of patients with early multiple sclerosis (MS). Methods Serum samples were collected from 901 patients with a clinically isolated syndrome (CIS) or early relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) participating in the German National MS cohort, a prospective cohort of patients with early MS with stringent inclusion criteria. Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen (EBNA)-1 and viral capsid antigen (VCA) antibodies were measured in diluted sera by chemiluminescence immunoassays (CLIAs). Sera of EBNA-1 and VCA antibody-negative patients were retested undiluted by an EBV IgG immunoblot. For comparison, we retrospectively analysed the EBV seroprevalence across different age cohorts, ranging from 0 to >80 years, in a large hospital population (N=16 163) from Berlin/Northern Germany. Results EBNA-1 antibodies were detected by CLIA in 839 of 901 patients with CIS/RRMS. Of the 62 patients without EBNA-1 antibodies, 45 had antibodies to VCA as detected by CLIA. In all of the remaining 17 patients, antibodies to EBV were detected by immunoblot. Altogether, 901 of 901 (100%) patients with CIS/RRMS were EBV-seropositive. EBV seropositivity increased with age in the hospital population but did not reach 100% in any of the investigated age cohorts. Conclusion The complete EBV seropositivity in this large cohort of patients with early MS strengthens the evidence for a role of EBV in MS. It also suggests that a negative EBV serology in patients with suspected inflammatory central nervous system disease should alert clinicians to consider diagnoses other than MS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)681-686
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Neurology, Neurosurgery and Psychiatry
Volume91
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2020
Externally publishedYes

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