Introduction. Multiple sclerosis is the most important disabling neurological disease in young adulthood in our environment. However, its etiology remains unknown. It has been proposed that multiple sclerosis is caused by an interaction of genetic and environmental factors. In particular, Epstein-Barr virus infection could play a fundamental role in the pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis. Methods. We have reviewed the most recent and important bibliography, both from epidemiologic and basic research studies, dealing with the possible association between Epstein-Barr virus infection and multiple sclerosis. Results. Retrospective and prospective epidemiologic studies suggest a direct association between Epstein-Barr virus infection and the risk of multiple sclerosis. Several physiopathologic mechanisms, including molecular mimicry and bystander activation, could be responsible for this association. Conclusions. Based on the published evidence, Epstein-Barr virus infection can be considered to have a causal role in the etiology of multiple sclerosis. Further research should be conducted to elucidate the mechanisms underlying this association and to assess its potential for multiple sclerosis prevention and treatment.
|Translated title of the contribution
|Infection by Epstein-Barr virus and multiple sclerosis
|Number of pages
|Published - Jun 2006
- Epstein-Barr virus
- Multiple sclerosis