Measles and Vaccinia Antibodies in Multiple Sclerosis

John M. Adams, MD, PhD
JAMA. 1978;240(7):637. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03290070039007.
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To the Editor.—  Finding elevated levels of vaccinia antibodies in CSF in 30% of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS) seriously implicated vaccinia virus.1,2 These reports complemented the finding of elevated levels of measles antibodies in CSF recorded previously from many laboratories implicating measles virus.3-5 To my knowledge, no reports have appeared confirming the finding of high levels of antibodies to both vaccinia and measles virus in CSF of patients with MS.In the original report by Kempe and associates,1 including this writer, specimens from 25 patients with MS had been previously studied, and three were found to have elevated titers to measles virus and vaccinia virus in their sera and CSF (Table).The pathogenesis is not clearly understood, but most recently Gutstein and Cohen6 showed that antibodies enter the spinal fluid from the serum by passive diffusion. They state further, "This mechanism may also explain the presence


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