Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Multiple Sclerosis Risk: Pr | 46222

Journal of Multiple Sclerosis

ISSN - 2376-0389
NLM - 101654564


Human Immunodeficiency Virus and Multiple Sclerosis Risk: Probing for a Connection

Mushfiquddin Khan, Insha Zahoor and Ehtisham-ul Haq

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease of the nervous system, with intense genetic and environmental background. Its etiologyis are poorly understood and likely multi factorial but its epidemiology has been intensively studied. This complex disease displays heterogeneity in terms of geographic and genetic influences on incidence, insinuating an effect of local unknown environmental factors on its development. Among numerous potential factors putatively involved in the etiopathogenesis of MS, retroviruses appear to influence MS. The intent of this review is to highlight the association between human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and the risk of developing MS while at the same time providing an overview of the insights gleaned from different studies. HIV infection is associated with a reduced risk of MS development, and perhaps, appears to be another wedge of the MS conundrum. The probable mechanisms for this relationship may be suppression of the immune system and/or antiretroviral drug therapy. While highlighting the relevance of antiretroviral medications as potential future alternatives for the effective treatment of MS, this review provides an impetus for further studies. We conclude that studies in this milieu hitherto are insufficient, and there is need for an upsurge in molecular epidemiological and clinical studies, with focus on the mechanism behind the impact of HIV/antiretroviral drugs on MS. Such inquiry could precisely establish the causes for associations between HIV and MS, perhaps impacting treatment options for both.