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P0939 - Antibody titters against EBV and HHV-6A/B and expression of MSRV ENV in the serum of pregnant multiple sclerosis patients (ID 1197)
Pregnancy is a special period within the clinical course of multiple sclerosis (MS), characterized by a reduction in the relapse rate and slower disease progression. On the contrary, during puerperium, relapse rate increases again. Viruses have been related to the etiopathogenesis of the disease, especially with disease activity.
To analyse the serum antibody titters against Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) (EBNA-1 and VCA) and human herpesvirus 6 A/B (HHV-6A/B), as well as the expression of the envelope protein of the MS-associated retrovirus (MSRV ENV) in pregnant MS patients during pregnancy and postpartum. To study their possible relationship with the disease activity during pregnancy and postpartum, as well as their potential role in predicting the risk of relapses.
Serum samples were collected from 71 pregnant women, 50 with MS and 21 healthy controls, at every trimester of pregnancy and in the postpartum. Antibody titters against the above mentioned viruses were analysed by ELISA commercial kits, following manufacturer instructions; gene expression of MSRV ENV was analysed by qRT-PCR.
IgM titres against HHV-6A/B were higher in MS patients than in healthy controls in the three trimesters of pregnancy and in the postpartum period (U-Mann Whitney): p =0.00001 for the first trimester; p=0.021 for the second trimester; p = 0.000005 for the third trimester; p =0.001, for the postpartum period). Furthermore, IgM titres against HHV-6A/B in the first trimester were higher in patients with relapses (U Mann Whitney, p = 0.052). Regarding the expression of MSRV ENV, the percentage of positivity during the first trimester was significantly higher in MS patients with relapses during pregnancy compared to those who did not (Fisher, p = 0.038).
High IgM titters against HHV-6A/B and the expression of MSRV ENV during the first trimester of pregnancy could act as predictors of relapse risk during pregnancy / postpartum. Although further studies are needed to validate these results, this study support the relation between viruses and relapses in pregnant MS patients.