#EBV and #MS #risk in the #Finnish #Maternity #Cohort (Ann Neurol., abstract)

[Source: Annals of Neurology, full page: (LINK). Abstract, edited.]

Epstein‐Barr virus and multiple sclerosis risk in the Finnish Maternity Cohort

Kassandra L. Munger ScD,  Kira Hongell MD,  Marianna Cortese MD, PhD,  Julia Åivo MD, Merja Soilu‐Hänninen MD, PhD,  Heljä‐Marja Surcel PhD,  Alberto Ascherio MD, DrPH

First published: 21 June 2019 / DOI:  https://doi.org/10.1002/ana.25532

This article has been accepted for publication and undergone full peer review but has not been through the copyediting, typesetting, pagination and proofreading process, which may lead to differences between this version and the Version of Record. Please cite this article as doi: 10.1002/ana.25532.




To determine whether maternal Epstein‐Barr virus (EBV) IgG antibody levels are associated with risk of multiple sclerosis (MS) in the offspring.


We conducted a prospective nested case‐control study in the Finnish Maternity Cohort (FMC) with serum samples from over 800,000 women collected during pregnancy since 1983. Cases of MS among offspring born between 1983 and 1991 were identified via hospital and prescription registries; 176 cases were matched to up to 3 controls (n=326) on region and dates of birth, sample collection, and mother’s birth. We used conditional logistic regression to estimate relative risks (RR) and adjusted models for sex of the child, gestational age at sample collection, and maternal serum 25‐hydroxyvitamin D and cotinine levels. Similar analyses were conducted among 1,049 women with MS and 1,867 matched controls in the FMC.


Maternal viral capsid antigen IgG levels during pregnancy were associated with an increased MS risk among offspring (RRtop vs. bottom quintile=2.44, 95%CI: 1.20‐5.00, p trend=0.004); no associations were found between maternal EBNA‐1, EA‐D, or cytomegalovirus IgG levels and offspring MS risk. Among women in the FMC, those in the highest versus lowest quintile of EBNA‐1 IgG levels had a 3‐fold higher risk of MS (RR=3.21, 95%CI: 2.37‐4.35, p trend <1.11e‐16). These associations were not confounded or modified by 25‐hydroxyvitamin D.


Offspring of mothers with high VCA IgG during pregnancy appear to have an increased risk of MS. The increase in MS risk among women with elevated pre‐diagnostic EBNA‐1 IgG levels is consistent with previous results.

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Keywords: EBV; Multiple Sclerosis; Pregnancy; Finland; Neurology.


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Giuseppe Michieli

I am an Italian blogger, active since 2005 with main focus on emerging infectious diseases such as avian influenza, SARS, antibiotics resistance, and many other global Health issues. Other fields of interest are: climate change, global warming, geological and biological sciences. My activity consists mainly in collection and analysis of news, public services updates, confronting sources and making decision about what are the 'signals' of an impending crisis (an outbreak, for example). When a signal is detected, I follow traces during the entire course of an event. I started in 2005 my blog ''A TIME'S MEMORY'', now with more than 40,000 posts and 3 millions of web interactions. Subsequently I added an Italian Language blog, then discontinued because of very low traffic and interest. I contributed for seven years to a public forum (FluTrackers.com) in the midst of the Ebola epidemic in West Africa in 2014, I left the site to continue alone my data tracking job.