Relationship between herpes simplex virus-1-specific antibody titers and cortical brain damage in Alzheimer's disease and amnestic mild cognitive impairment

Roberta Mancuso, Francesca Baglio*, Simone Agostini, Monia Cabinio, Maria M Laganà, Ambra Hernis, Nicolò Margaritella, Franca R Guerini, Milena Zanzottera, Raffaello Nemni, Mario Clerici

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Alzheimer's disease (AD) is a multifactorial disease with a still barely understood etiology. Herpes simplex virus 1 (HSV-1) has long been suspected to play a role in the pathogenesis of AD because of its neurotropism, high rate of infection in the general population, and life-long persistence in neuronal cells, particularly in the same brain regions that are usually altered in AD. The goal of this study was to evaluate HSV-1-specific humoral immune responses in patients with a diagnosis of either AD or amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI), and to verify the possible relation between HSV-1-specific antibody (Ab) titers and cortical damage; results were compared to those obtained in a group of healthy controls (HC). HSV-1 serum IgG titers were measured in 225 subjects (83 AD, 68 aMCI, and 74 HC). HSV-specific Ab avidity and cortical gray matter volumes analyzed by magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) were evaluated as well in a subgroup of these individuals (44 AD, 23 aMCI, and 26 HC). Results showed that, whereas HSV-1 seroprevalence and IgG avidity were comparable in the three groups, increased Ab titers (p < 0.001) were detected in AD and aMCI compared to HC. Positive significant correlations were detected in AD patients alone between HSV-1 IgG titers and cortical volumes in orbitofrontal (region of interest, ROI1 RSp0.56; p = 0.0001) and bilateral temporal cortices (ROI2 RSp0.57; p < 0.0001; ROI3 RSp0.48; p = 0.001); no correlations could be detected between IgG avidity and MRI parameters. Results herein suggest that a strong HSV-1-specific humoral response could be protective toward AD-associated cortical damage.

Original languageEnglish
Article number285
Number of pages8
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Volume6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2014

Keywords

  • HSV-1
  • Alzheimer’s disease (AD)
  • Amnestic mild cognitive impairment (aMCI)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Voxel based morphometry (VBM)
  • HSV-1 IgG

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