Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) and human herpesvirus 6 (HHV-6) have particularly strong associations with multiple sclerosis (MS) and both viruses are typically acquired during childhood, decades before MS presents. In a recent study, however, none of these mutations were evident in EBV-positive samples from pediatric MS patients, whereas they were present in pediatric and adult controls, suggesting differential host-immune control of EBV in this pediatric MS cohort. In order to compare the frequency of EBV and HHV-6 in the saliva of a cohort of pediatric MS patients and age-matched controls, researchers enrolled 32 pediatric MS patients and 42 controls and evaluated saliva for HHV-6 u57 and EBV lmp-1 amplification by droplet digital polymerase chain reaction (ddPCR). They found:
- Pediatric MS patients did not differ from controls in the frequency or magnitude of salivary viral shedding.
- During the assessment of EBV positivity, distinct profiles emerged that correlated with target amplicon mutations.
Leibovitch EC, Major Lin C-T, Billoux BJ, Graves J, Waubant E, Jacobson S. Prevalence of salivary human herpesviruses in pediatric multiple sclerosis cases and controls. [Published online ahead of print March 23, 2018]. Mult Scler. doi:10.1177/1352458518765654.