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Disease Markers
Volume 2015, Article ID 901312, 5 pages
Research Article

Epstein-Barr Virus Specific Antibody Response in Multiple Sclerosis Patients during 21 Months of Natalizumab Treatment

1Department of Biomedical and Specialist Surgical Sciences, University of Ferrara, 44124 Ferrara, Italy
2Department of Biomedical, Surgical and Dental Sciences, University of Milan, 20122 Milan, Italy
3Department of General Neurology, National Neurological Institute C. Mondino, 27100 Pavia, Italy
4Department of Medical Sciences, University of Ferrara, 44121 Ferrara, Italy
5Department of Neurosciences and Rehabilitation, Azienda Ospedaliero-Universitaria, 44124 Ferrara, Italy

Received 15 February 2015; Accepted 17 May 2015

Academic Editor: Mariann Harangi

Copyright © 2015 Massimiliano Castellazzi et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory autoimmune disease of the central nervous system. Natalizumab, a humanized anti-α4 integrin monoclonal antibody, is a highly effective treatment approved for MS. An association between MS and an exposure to Epstein-Barr Virus (EBV) sustained by the levels of antiviral capsid antigen (VCA) and anti-Epstein-Barr nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA-1) IgG has been described. Our goal was to verify the utility of EBV-specific IgG as a marker in Natalizumab treated MS. Twenty patients (17 female and 3 male) in treatment with Natalizumab were enrolled. Serum levels of anti-VCA and anti-EBNA-1 IgG were determined and expressed as arbitrary units (AU) before treatment and every three months for 21 months of therapy. Anti-VCA IgG levels were increased at the 15th month (235410 ± 196712 AU) comparing with the 3rd (98146 ± 47145 AU) and the 6th (109866 ± 52270 AU) months of therapy . No significant differences were found for serum anti-EBNA-1 IgG levels. Our data indicate that a transient, self-limited, EBV reactivation can occur in MS during Natalizumab therapy but our results do not support the use of serum EBV-specific antibody levels as biomarkers for monitoring therapeutic response to Natalizumab in the course of MS.