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Monday, August 22, 2016

Sydney multiple sclerosis researchers link risk genes to Vitamin D


Genetic risk factors of multiple sclerosis have been linked to Vitamin D activation.
Genetic risk factors of multiple sclerosis have been linked to Vitamin D activation.  Photo: Supplied

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New research from scientists based at The Westmead Institute in Sydney has drawn a link between the genetic and environmental circumstances of multiple sclerosis, which affects 2.1 million people worldwide, most of whom are diagnosed between 20 and 40 years of age.
The project led by immunologist Dr David Booth capitalises on data from a landmark 2013 study that profiled the DNA of 30,000 MS patients worldwide. The study found there are more than 100 genetic risk factors of MS, which is characterised by the scarring of tissue in the central nervous system. 
"Previously, it was thought that t-cells orchestrated an attack on the myelin sheath around nerves, causing their destruction," Dr Booth said. "Because we have found out the gene risk types, we now know there are various immune cells involved in this process, and different sub-sets of cells causing MS in different people."

Dr Booth and his team worked backwards to find the cellular source of two of the 110 genes associated with MS, called EOMES and TBX21.

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