Epstein-Barr virus-induced T cell responses and the pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis

Research Summary

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is thought to be caused by the body’s immune system mounting an attach on the central nervous system (CNS). One possible explanation for such “autoimmune” behaviour is that infection with a virus induces strong immune responses which recognise not only the virus but also bu chance normal components of the CNS. Accumulating evidence suggests that one candidate virus is Epstein-Barr virus (EBV). This is a common virus that almost all people acquire either in infancy or later in adolescence and that is then carried for life usually with no adverse effect. Recent evidence suggests that the immune response to this virus in MS patients differs from that in healthy individuals. Furthermore parts of this response appear to cross-react with components of the CNS.We plan to explore a possible role for EBV-induced immune responses in the triggering and/or progression of MS focussing on responses made by a subject of immune cells called T lymphocytes (T cells). We will isolate T cells from the blood of MS patients and compare pattern of EBV-induced responses with that obtained from healthy individuals of similar gender age and tissue type. Where differences are observed we will determine whether these “different” T cells are also able to recognise normal components of the CNS. If such cross-reactivity is detected within blood-derived T cell populations we will take small samples of cerebrospinal fluid from selected MS patients and look for evidence that the same cells are active at the actual site of disease in the CNS.

Research Overview
PI Name Douglas - M
Sponsor University of Birmingham
Project Status Open
Proposed End Date 30/09/2016
Study Run through CRF? No
Recruitment so far 0