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May 4, 2005

Exposure to Infant Siblings During Early Life and Risk of Multiple Sclerosis—Reply

Author Affiliations

Letters Section Editor: Robert M. Golub, MD, Senior Editor.

JAMA. 2005;293(17):2089-2090. doi:10.1001/jama.293.17.2089-b

In Reply: The concept of an interaction between EBV and human endogenous retroviruses, including an MSRV, is interesting, particularly given that herpesviruses such as EBV and human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) may trigger retroviral activation.1 The human endogenous retrovirus type H (HERV-H) has also been associated with MS.2 Combinations of the HERV-H and herpesvirus antigens result in highly increased cellular immune responses, as measured by blast transformation assays based on peripheral blood mononuclear cells among both MS patients and healthy controls.3 However, it is not clear how these viral interactions would explain the apparent protective effect of younger infant siblings found in our study.

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