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August 1986

Retroviruses in Multiple Sclerosis?

Author Affiliations

Department of Virology The Weizmann Institute of Science Rehovot, Israel 76100

Arch Neurol. 1986;43(8):756-757. doi:10.1001/archneur.1986.00520080008008

To the Editor.  —The recent findings of Koprowski and colleagues,1 which suggest that human retroviruses may be involved in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS), will no doubt give fresh impetus to the long and so far indecisive search for viruses as causal agents of MS. However, our studies2-4 of the interferon (IFN) system in MS patients do not support this possibility. Since IFN has a very short plasma half-life of two to four hours, we have measured the level of the IFN-induced enzyme, 2'-5'-oligoadenylate synthetase (2-5A), in the lymphocytes and granulocytes of patients with MS. Determinations of 2-5A levels have proved to be sensitive yet stable indicators of interferonemia in acute, chronic, and persistent viral infections.2-4 Human T-cell lymphotropic viruses are probably good inducers of IFN, and interferonemia with increased 2-5A levels has been reported in patients with cutaneous T-cell lymphoma and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome.

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