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Multiple Sclerosis risk increased if both Epstein-Bar Virus and low sun (vitamin D) – Aug 2021

Low sun exposure acts synergistically with high EBNA-1 antibody levels in MS etiology

Eur J Neurol. 2021 Aug 26. doi: 10.1111/ene.15082 Publisher want $20 for the PDF
Anna Karin Hedström 1 2, Jesse Huang 2, Nicole Brenner 3, Julia Butt 3, Ingrid Kockum 2, Tim Waterboer 3, Tomas Olsson 2, Lars Alfredsson 1 2 4


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Background: Among multiple sclerosis (MS) patients, an association has been observed between low levels of vitamin D and high Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen 1 (EBNA-1) antibody levels. However, whether sun exposure/vitamin D moderates the role of Epstein-Barr virus infection in MS etiology is unclear. We aimed to investigate potential synergistic effects between low sun exposure and elevated EBNA-1 antibody levels regarding MS risk.

Methods: We used a population-based case-control study involving 2017 incident cases of MS and 2443 matched controls. We used logistic regression models to calculate odds ratios of MS with 95% confidence intervals (CI) in subjects with different sun exposure habits and EBNA-1 status. Potential interaction on the additive scale was evaluated by calculating the attributable proportion due to interaction (AP).

Results: Low sun exposure acted synergistically with high EBNA-1 antibody levels (AP 0.2, 95% CI 0.03-0.3) in its association to increased MS risk. The interaction was present regardless of HLA-DRB1*15:01 status.

Conclusions: Low sun exposure may either directly, or indirectly by affecting vitamin D levels, synergistically reinforce pathogenic mechanisms, such as aspects of the adaptive immune response, related to MS risk conveyed by EBV infection.

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