Jennifer Massa, Simon KC, Lopez-Ridaura, Rivera-Flores J, Silverman-Retana O, Corona T, Kagan IG and Ascherio
Background/Aims: We studied whether serological antibody titers against Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) were related to multiple sclerosis (MS) risk in Mexico City, a population undergoing an epidemiological transition. Additionally, we explored the association between markers of hygiene and intestinal parasite infection and MS prevalence.
Methods: We conducted a hospital based case-control study in Mexico City; 52 incident MS cases. Childhood and adult hygiene scores were created using information from questionnaires. 51 cases and 51 controls provided blood samples for biomarker analyses.
Results: There was a 3-fold increase in risk of MS with each 1 unit increase in anti-EBNA1 titer (OR 3.02, 95% CI: 1.01-9.02). Increasing childhood and adult hygiene scores were associated with a modestly increased risk of MS (ORchildhood 1.20, 95% CI: 1.04-1.38; ORadult 1.28, 95% CI: 1.04-1.58). We found no association between antibody titer to neither Stronglyloides nor Ascaris and MS risk.
Conclusion: High anti-EBNA1 antibody titers appears to be associated with increased MS risk even in a region where MS had historically low incidence and infectious mononucleosis is rare, providing further support for the postulated role of EBV in MS etiology. We also found moderate support for a role of higher ‘hygiene’ being associated with susceptibility to MS.PDF
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