Association between human herpesvirus & human endogenous retrovirus and MS onset & progression

J Neurol Sci. 2017 Jan 15;372:239-249. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2016.11.060. Epub 2016 Nov 24.


This review discusses the role of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), human herpesvirus 6 (HHV6) and human endogenous retroviruses (HERVs) in the onset and progression of multiple sclerosis (MS). Although EBV has been established as one of the causal factors in MS onset, its role in MS progression is still uncertain. Moreover, interactions between EBV and other risk factor on MS development still need more investment. With less consistent evidence than EBV, HHV6 has also been implicated in the pathogenesis of MS; moreover, it showed a closer connection with the disease activity. Recent studies found that HERVs were associated with the development and progression of MS. Some antiviral treatments have shown promise for clinical interventions in the future. Future studies are yet needed to fully clarify the role of these agents in MS onset and disease course and the modes by which they realise these effects.

Keywords: Epstein-Barr virus; Human endogenous retroviruses; Human herpesvirus 6; Multiple sclerosis; Onset; Progression.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Disease Progression
  • Endogenous Retroviruses / pathogenicity*
  • Herpesvirus 4, Human / pathogenicity*
  • Herpesvirus 6, Human / pathogenicity*
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / epidemiology
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / etiology
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / virology