Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Linked to Genes

Neuroscience and Neurology CategoryScientists have recently pinpointed genes that can predict who is more likely to get Multiple Sclerosis (MS). MS is thought to be an autoimmune disease, meaning the body attacks itself, and to date it affects approximately 400,000 Americans. Every week about 200 people are diagnosed with this potentially debilitating disease in the US alone. Although the most common image of MS is an elderly individual in a wheelchair, the first signs of disease (periods of dizziness, double vision) often appear in the late teens or early twenties, and twice as often in women. The patient may recover completely, partially, or not at all after this first “relapse” episode, and it is a lifelong disease. Most MS patients will get some permanent disability later on in their lives.

MS is a disease for which we have no cure, because scientists know very little about what causes it. Current treatment options can only modulate the disease or lessen the symptoms. There are generally two streams of thought in the scientific community on what causes the disease: it is either thought to be triggered by the environment, or it is thought that there is a genetic predisposition. Many scientists also propose both factors play a role, given the current evidence. For instance, in Japan, the adoption of a “Western” lifestyle starting in the 1950s has been correlated with a dramatic increase in the incidence of MS. Also, there are statistics showing that the further away from the equator, the higher the incidence rate of MS. It has even been proposed that Vitamin D, which our body produces with the help of sunlight, plays a protective role against MS. It would make sense then, that the sun-intensive equator regions would have a lower incidence of the disease.

Nevertheless, it is now known that genes do play an important role in predicting MS as well. A study spearheaded by researchers from Duke University have found that an important marker in the development and programming of the immune system called the Interleukin 7 alpha receptor (IL-7RA) strongly correlates with MS disease susceptibility. It is now being investigated whether this marker plays a role in causing the disease, providing a valuable clue as to how and why certain people get this illness. Despite the fact that much more research needs to be done, the study provides strong evidence that genetics are an important component, and point the research community in a helpful direction in finding a cure for the disease.


Gregory S et al. IL 7 Receptor alpha chain shows allelic and functional association with multiple sclerosis. Nature Genetics 2007 Sept, 39(9):1083-90.

Broadley SA. Could vitamin D be the answer to multiple sclerosis? Multiple Sclerosis 2007 Aug;13(7):825-6.

Kira J. Multiple sclerosis in the Japanese population. Lancet Neurology 2003 Feb;2(2):117-27. Review

  • Pingback: Natural Killer Cells and the Search for Biomarkers for Autism()

  • dar

    ‘MS is a disease for which we have no cure, ‘
    ->of course:there’s no money in implementing&acknowledging that alternative medicine has hundreds of Safe&successful protocols for All dis-eases
    Please observe the pattern: Allopathy first put the blame for disease on germs, next it was viruses& now it’s genes…

  • dar

    From the Journal of Applied Nutrition, 1973:
    Response of Peripheral and Central Nerve Pathology to Mega-Doses of the Vitamin B-Complex and Other Metabolites
    by Frederich R. Klenner, BS, MS, MD

    The protocol of how to effectively treat Multiple Sclerosis, by Frederich R. Klenner. (In two parts, as originally published in 1973.)
    Online publication only. . .
    In this two-part series Klenner defines an orthomolecular treatment of MS that has been effectively employed by Dale Humpherys and other patients.
    We also offer the entire Klenner Protocol for MS article as a 174KB .pdf.

  • I was a scientist some time ago (I have PhD in physics), so the most precise science definition I know: “Science is what do scientists”

    Today MS induced by genes, tomorrow – by body height, next day – by hair color… What next?

    Why you – the scientists – don’t look at influence of so polluted environment? It is well known, that all chemicals act as immunotoxins as well as neurotoxins.

Karen Vieira, MBA, PhD

Karen Vieira, MBA, PhD, has written about medical research, medical procedures, food ingredients, herbal remedies, pharmaceutical drugs, condo construction, real estate and computer consulting to mention a few.

See All Posts By The Author

Do not miss out ever again. Subscribe to get our newsletter delivered to your inbox a few times a month.