Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Lupus and the role of Epstein-Barr virus

08.04.2005


Study suggests a common viral infection may increase risk of lupus in African Americans. Findings also show that genetic variation may affect the immune response to Epstein-Barr virus in lupus patients.

Almost everyone has been infected with Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), a member of the herpes family and one of the most common human viruses. Symptoms of initial infection range from a typically mild childhood illness with a fever and sore throat to mononucleosis in teenagers or adults. After the initial infection, the virus settles into the cells of the immune system called B cells, where it remains for life, mostly dormant, with occasional bouts of reactivation and replication. Maintaining EBV infection in a latent or quiet state primarily depends on the power of another kind of immune cell, known as T cells. T cells play a major role in keeping the immune system functioning properly. Due to its interference with immune function and promotion of certain antibodies, EBV has been implicated in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), commonly referred to as lupus. Lupus is a chronic, potentially debilitating autoimmune disease that more often affects women and is also more common in African Americans. Although the specific cause of lupus is not yet known, both genetic and environmental triggers are likely to be involved.

To determine if there is an association between Epstein-Barr virus and lupus, researchers in North and South Carolina compared the prevalence of EBV antibodies in blood samples from lupus patients with those from healthy controls. Published in the April 2005 issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, the results of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS) study show a strong association of EBV-IgA antibodies with lupus in African Americans. In addition, their findings shed new light on variation in a T-cell response gene that might influence immune responsiveness to EBV among lupus patients.



Participants in the Carolina Lupus Study included 230 patients recently diagnosed with lupus. Ranging widely in age, the subjects were 90 percent women and 60 percent African-American. Matched for age and sex, controls were recruited from state driver’s license registries. 30 percent of the enrolled controls were African-American, reflecting the racial distribution of the geographic study area. Blood samples and medical records were obtained for all participants.

Among both lupus patients and controls, African Americans had a higher prevalence of EBV-IgG antibodies – the telltale sign of having a history of EBV infection – than white subjects. However, another antibody, EBV-IgA, seen with repeat or reactivated EBV infection, was also more common in African Americans with lupus. EBV-IgA was found in 66 percent of African-American patients, and calculated at increasing the odds for lupus by 5 to 6 fold. Among white lupus patients, the EBV-IgA association was modest, yet increased significantly with age. The association also appeared stronger in older African Americans than younger patients.

Among lupus patients, both African-American and white, researchers also observed a genetic variation in CTLA-4, a protein that works on T cells in regulating immunity, and which significantly increased the risk of lupus associated with EBV-IgA antibodies. This variation was previously linked to risk of lupus in younger African Americans in the Carolina Lupus Study.

"The racial difference in the association between EBV-IgA and SLE is intriguing, especially since African Americans have a higher risk of SLE, tend to develop the disease earlier, and often have a more severe course of disease," notes the study’s leading author, Christine G. Parks, Ph.D., who performed the study as a post-doctoral fellow at the NIEHS, one of the National Institutes of Health, in Research Triangle Park, North Carolina. Dr. Parks is presently employed with the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Sciences in Morgantown, West Virginia. "One explanation could be that there are more opportunities for reinfection among African Americans, given the higher population prevalence of infection and likelihood of encountering and becoming infected with new viral strains. Alternatively, other factors independently related to the immune response to EBV and loss of latency could vary by race, with the same difference being related to the differential risk of SLE."

Providing solid new serum-based evidence on the link between lupus and Epstein-Barr virus, this study also calls attention to the need for continued research into the role of race, age, and genetic variation in autoimmune diseases.

The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences is a federal agency that conducts and funds basic research on the health effects of exposure to environmental agents.

Amy Molnar | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.interscience.wiley.com
http://www.interscience.wiley.com/journal/arthritis

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Europe’s Demographic Future. Where the Regions Are Heading after a Decade of Crises
10.08.2017 | Berlin-Institut für Bevölkerung und Entwicklung

nachricht Scientists reveal source of human heartbeat in 3-D
07.08.2017 | University of Manchester

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Exotic quantum states made from light: Physicists create optical “wells” for a super-photon

Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.

Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...

Im Focus: Circular RNA linked to brain function

For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.

While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...

Im Focus: RAVAN CubeSat measures Earth's outgoing energy

An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.

The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...

Im Focus: Scientists shine new light on the “other high temperature superconductor”

A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.

Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...

Im Focus: Scientists improve forecast of increasing hazard on Ecuadorian volcano

Researchers from the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, the Italian Space Agency (ASI), and the Instituto Geofisico--Escuela Politecnica Nacional (IGEPN) of Ecuador, showed an increasing volcanic danger on Cotopaxi in Ecuador using a powerful technique known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR).

The Andes region in which Cotopaxi volcano is located is known to contain some of the world's most serious volcanic hazard. A mid- to large-size eruption has...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Call for Papers – ICNFT 2018, 5th International Conference on New Forming Technology

16.08.2017 | Event News

Sustainability is the business model of tomorrow

04.08.2017 | Event News

Clash of Realities 2017: Registration now open. International Conference at TH Köln

26.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New thruster design increases efficiency for future spaceflight

16.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Transporting spin: A graphene and boron nitride heterostructure creates large spin signals

16.08.2017 | Materials Sciences

A new method for the 3-D printing of living tissues

16.08.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>