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February 1996

Herpesviruses in Multiple Sclerosis

Author Affiliations

Portland, Ore

Arch Neurol. 1996;53(2):123-124. doi:10.1001/archneur.1996.00550020027011

In this issue of the Archives, Sanders et al1 report on the presence of herpes simplex virus (HSV) 1 and 2 in 46% of postmortem brain tissue samples from patients with multiple sclerosis and in 28% of samples from control cases. In the August 1995 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, Challoner et al2 report on the presence of human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) in brain samples from patients with MS. These two articles represent the latest among many reports of viruses detected in MS brain by culture, hybridization techniques, or immunocytochemical methods. Are these simply observations on the normal viral flora found in the brain, perhaps enhanced in the MS brains by the use of immunosuppressive agents and steroids? While the observations on HHV-6 have been met with underwhelming enthusiasm, there are a number of reasons why such observations deserve careful examination.

See also