Varicella zoster virus in progressive forms of multiple sclerosis.Clin Neurol Neurosurg 2010; 112(8):653-7CN
The apparent association between varicella zoster virus (VZV) and multiple sclerosis (MS) has been described. In patients with relapse/remission (R/R) MS we have found high loads of VZV DNA in lymphocytes and in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), as well as abundant viral particles in CSF visualized by electron microscopy at the time of relapse. Both, the molecular and the ultrastructural evidence of VZV became negative in the same patients at the time of remission.
In the present study we analyzed the presence of VZV in patients with progressive forms of MS; DNA from VZV was searched by real-time PCR in blood lymphocytes and in CSF of 20 patients with progressive MS. Ultrastructural study searching for viral particles in CSF was made with transmission electron microscopy.
VZV DNA was found in the CSF from 65% of cases with progressive MS- and VZV-like viral particles were found in 30% of these patients. Nonetheless, the amount of DNA and the number of viral particles were lower than those that have been found in MS patients with R/R at the time of relapse, but higher than those found during remission.
Similar to findings in patients with R/R MS, VZV might be associated to progressive MS, but in minor quantity. In these cases, the virus may produce a chronic, relentless infection or trigger a process of immune-mediated demyelination.