Association of innate immune activation with latent Epstein-Barr virus in active MS lesions

Clemens, M, Cruz-Sadaba, M, Elia, A, Farrell, P, Giovannoni, G, Khan, G, Lonardi, S, Meager, A, Meier, U-C, Middeldorp, J, Sefia, E, Tzartos, J and Vossenkamper, A (2012) Association of innate immune activation with latent Epstein-Barr virus in active MS lesions. Neurology, 78 (1). pp. 15-23. ISSN 0028-3878

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Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To determine whether the activation of innate immune responses, which can be elicited by pathogenic and endogenous triggers, is associated with the presence of Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) infection in the multiple sclerosis (MS) brain. METHODS: White matter postmortem MS (n = 10) and control tissue (n = 11) was analyzed for the expression of the proinflammatory cytokine interferon (IFN) by immunohistochemistry and for EBV by using the highly sensitive method of EBV-encoded RNA (EBER) in situ hybridization. RESULTS: We detected overexpression of IFN in active areas of white matter MS lesions but not in inactive MS lesions, normal-appearing white matter, or normal brains. The presence of IFN in macrophages and microglia (expressing human leukocyte antigen class II) is suggestive of local production as part of an acute inflammatory process. Interestingly, EBERs were also specifically detected in areas where IFN was overexpressed in these preselected active MS lesions. EBER+ cells were also found in CNS lymphoma and stroke cases, but were absent in other control brains. We next addressed a potential mechanism, e.g., the role of EBERs in eliciting IFN production, and transfected EBERs into human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells. We used HEK cells that stably expressed Toll-like receptor-3, which recognizes double-stranded RNAs, associated with many viral infections. EBERs elicited IFN production in vitro. CONCLUSION: These findings suggest that latent EBV infection may contribute to the inflammatory milieu in active MS lesions by activating innate immune responses, e.g., IFN production. Unraveling the underlying mechanisms may help in uncovering causal pathways and developing better treatment strategies for MS and other neuroinflammatory diseases.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Life Sciences > Biochemistry
Depositing User: Prof Mike Clemens
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:13
Last Modified: 17 Jul 2012 08:48
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/30244
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