Epstein-Barr virus-specific antibody response in cerebrospinal fluid and serum of patients with multiple sclerosis

Mult Scler. 2010 Jul;16(7):883-7. doi: 10.1177/1352458510368051. Epub 2010 May 18.


Cerebrospinal fluid and serum levels and intrathecal synthesis of anti-Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) IgG were measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 80 relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis patients grouped according to clinical and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) evidence of disease activity. Eighty patients with other inflammatory neurological disorders (OIND) and 80 patients with non-inflammatory neurological disorders (NIND) served as neurological controls. Cerebrospinal fluid concentrations were higher in OIND than in multiple sclerosis (p < 0.0001) and NIND (p < 0.01) for anti-viral-capsid-antigen (anti-VCA) IgG, in multiple sclerosis than in NIND (p < 0.01) and in OIND than in NIND (p < 0.05) for anti-EBV nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA-1) IgG. Serum levels were more elevated in OIND than in multiple sclerosis (p < 0.05) and in MRI inactive than in MRI active multiple sclerosis (p < 0.0001) for anti-VCA IgG, and in multiple sclerosis than in OIND and NIND (p < 0.01) for anti-EBNA-1 IgG. Serum titres of anti-VCA and anti-EBNA-1 IgG were also positively (p < 0.05) and inversely (p < 0.001) correlated, respectively, with the Expanded Disability Status Scale. An intrathecal IgG production of anti-VCA and anti-EBNA-1 IgG, as indicated by Antibody Index, was present only in a limited number of multiple sclerosis patients and controls (range from 1.3 to 6.3%). These findings do not support a direct pathogenetic role of EBV-targeted humoral immune response in multiple sclerosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Viral / blood*
  • Antibodies, Viral / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Antigens, Viral / immunology*
  • Capsid Proteins / immunology*
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / immunology*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Humoral*
  • Italy
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / blood
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / immunology
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / virology*
  • Severity of Illness Index


  • Antibodies, Viral
  • Antigens, Viral
  • Capsid Proteins
  • Epstein-Barr viral capsid antigen