EBV and Autoimmunity

Curr Top Microbiol Immunol. 2015;390(Pt 1):365-85. doi: 10.1007/978-3-319-22822-8_15.


Although a role of EBV in autoimmunity is biologically plausible and evidence of altered immune responses to EBV is abundant in several autoimmune diseases, inference on causality requires the determination that disease risk is higher in individuals infected with EBV than in those uninfected and that in the latter it increases following EBV infection. This determination has so far been possible only for multiple sclerosis (MS) and, to some extent, for systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), whereas evidence is either lacking or not supportive for other autoimmune conditions. In this chapter, we present the main epidemiological findings that justify the conclusion that EBV is a component cause of MS and SLE and possible mechanisms underlying these effects.

Keywords: Autoimmunity; Epidemiology; Erythematosus; Multiple sclerosis; Risk factors; Systemic lupus.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmunity*
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / immunology*
  • Epstein-Barr Virus Infections / virology
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / genetics
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / virology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / virology