Dr. Ron’s Research Review – December 7, 2016

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This week’s research review focuses on virus and autoimmune diseases.

The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) may play a role in the pathophysiology of autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS). Both SLE and RA are characterized by high titers of anti-EBV antibodies and impaired T-cell responses to EBV antigens. Compared with normal subjects, elevated EBV load in peripheral blood has been observed in SLE and RA. EBV DNA or RNA has been evidenced in target organs of RA (synovium) or pSS (salivary glands). Finally, molecular mimicry has been demonstrated between EBV proteins and self antigens in these three conditions. (Toussirot and Roudier, 2008)

 

In this review, the author presents a case of autoimmune CIU (chronic idiopathic urticaria) in stable remission after therapy with a retroviral integrase inhibitor, raltegravir (Isentress).  Evidence suggests that increased replication of epigenomic viral pathogens such as Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) in chronic human autoimmune diseases may activate endogenous human retroviruses (HERV) as a pathologic mechanism. Memory B cells are the reservoir of infection of EBV and also express endogenous retroviruses, thus depletion of memory b-lymphocytes by monoclonal antibodies (Rituximab) may have therapeutic anti-viral effects in addition to effects on B-lymphocyte presentation of both EBV and HERV superantigens. (Dreyfus, 2011)

 

Dr. Ron


 

Articles

Autoimmune disease: A role for new anti-viral therapies
            (Dreyfus, 2011) Download
Many chronic human diseases may have an underlying autoimmune mechanism. In this review, the author presents a case of autoimmune CIU (chronic idiopathic urticaria) in stable remission after therapy with a retroviral integrase inhibitor, raltegravir (Isentress). Previous reports located using the search terms "autoimmunity" and "anti-viral" and related topics in the pubmed data-base are reviewed suggesting that novel anti-viral agents such as retroviral integrase inhibitors, gene silencing therapies and eventually vaccines may provide new options for anti-viral therapy of autoimmune diseases. Cited epidemiologic and experimental evidence suggests that increased replication of epigenomic viral pathogens such as Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) in chronic human autoimmune diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis (RA), systemic lupus Erythematosus (SLE), and multiple sclerosis (MS) may activate endogenous human retroviruses (HERV) as a pathologic mechanism. Memory B cells are the reservoir of infection of EBV and also express endogenous retroviruses, thus depletion of memory b-lymphocytes by monoclonal antibodies (Rituximab) may have therapeutic anti-viral effects in addition to effects on B-lymphocyte presentation of both EBV and HERV superantigens. Other novel anti-viral therapies of chronic autoimmune diseases, such as retroviral integrase inhibitors, could be effective, although not without risk.

Epstein-Barr virus in autoimmune diseases.
            (Toussirot and Roudier, 2008) Download
Autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), and primary Sjögren's syndrome (pSS) are complex disorders with a genetic background and the involvement of environmental factors, including viruses. The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV) is a plausible candidate for playing a role in the pathophysiology of these diseases. Both SLE and RA are characterized by high titers of anti-EBV antibodies and impaired T-cell responses to EBV antigens. Compared with normal subjects, elevated EBV load in peripheral blood has been observed in SLE and RA. EBV DNA or RNA has been evidenced in target organs of RA (synovium) or pSS (salivary glands). Finally, molecular mimicry has been demonstrated between EBV proteins and self antigens in these three conditions. In addition, SLE, RA, and pSS are associated with an increased risk of lymphoma with a potential role for EBV. The influence of new and emergent treatments of these autoimmune diseases (biological therapies) on EBV load and the course of latent EBV infection requires further studies.


 

References

Dreyfus, DH (2011), ‘Autoimmune disease: A role for new anti-viral therapies’, Autoimmun Rev, 11 (2), 88-97. PubMed: 21871974
Toussirot, E and J Roudier (2008), ‘Epstein-Barr virus in autoimmune diseases.’, Best Pract Res Clin Rheumatol, 22 (5), 883-96. PubMed: 19028369