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Autoimmunity, Anti Virals and herpes viruses


Senior Member
There seem to be theories of ME being a viral infection hence treatment with anti virals along with theories that it is an auto immune disease leading to treatment with rituximab. I was wondering if there was some relationship between autoimmunity and viral action and hence antivirals.

I found this paper that seems to relate these concepts - hence I thought it might be of interest.

Amplification of autoimmune disease by infection


Reports of infection with certain chronic persistent microbes (herpesviruses or Chlamydiae) in human autoimmune diseases are consistent with the hypothesis that these microbes are reactivated in the setting of immunodeficiency and often target the site of autoimmune inflammation. New experimental animal models demonstrate the principle. A herpesvirus or Chlamydia species can be used to infect mice with induced transient autoimmune diseases. This results in increased disease severity and even relapse. The evidence suggests that the organisms are specifically imported to the inflammatory sites and cause further tissue destruction, especially when the host is immunosuppressed. We review the evidence for the amplification of autoimmune inflammatory disease by microbial infection, which may be a general mechanism applicable to many human diseases. We suggest that patients with autoimmune disorders receiving immunosuppressing drugs should benefit from preventive antiviral therapy.

Not comming from a biological background I'm not convinced I understand the paper but as I see it what they are saying is that were someone has an auto immune disease this will attract B/T cells to the site being attacked. Some of these may contain a herpes type virus, this could lead to the virus becomming active at that site hence causing a relapse. Therefore they suggest the use of anti-virals (partiularly where patients are on immune suppressants). There seem to have been a number of interesting mouse experiments refered to in the paper.