By AMY DOCKSER MARCUS, APRIL 12, 2011, wsj.com:
Brigitte Huber, a professor of pathology at Tufts University School of Medicine, and a team of researchers showed that Epstein-Barr virus and two herpes viruses can activate an old retrovirus gene.
One theory the researchers plan to test in mice is whether chronic, low-level reactivation of the retrovirus plays a role in developing multiple sclerosis.
A study is testing a similar idea in patients with chronic fatigue syndrome. The researchers are collecting blood samples at six-month intervals from people who had mononucleosis, including those who later developed chronic fatigue syndrome and those who didn't.
The researchers will see if the old retrovirus gene is activated in those who developed chronic fatigue syndrome compared with those who didn't. If a connection is demonstrated, therapies could be developed to turn off the old retrovirus gene.
"The idea is that if you don't have chronic stimulation then the symptoms would go away,'' Dr. Huber says. Read more>>