About Multiple Sclerosis Foundation

Home > Learn About Multiple Sclerosis > News > Study links inflammation, MS genetic variant

Study links inflammation, MS genetic variant


A new study links a central regulator of inflammation as a cause of many cases of multiple sclerosis. The results could lead to new disease treatment options.

Yale School of Medicine researchers found that 17 of 97 genetic variants associated with MS affect the NFkB pathway, which controls a host of immune system responses to environmental threats. One variant associated with MS near the NFkB gene profoundly increased gene activity. The findings illustrate the complexity of individual diseases like MS, in which variants can contribute to small increases in risk of disease through different molecular mechanisms. They also illustrate how same molecular pathways, such as NFkB, can trigger a variety of autoimmune diseases with fundamentally different symptoms — such as MS.

The authors suggest that rapid genetic screening for variants associated with NFkB signaling may identify individuals amenable to NFkB blocking.

“After identifying the genes that cause MS, we are starting to generate a comprehensive roadmap of the how these genes operate together in allowing immune cells to become activated and attack the myelin,” says David A. Hafler, the William S. and Lois Stiles Professor of Neurology and Immunobiology at Yale and chair of Yale’s Department of Neurology.

The study was published in the journal Science Translational Medicine.

  Support the MSF
Supporting MSF's programs to help make "a brighter tomorrow" has never been easier.
make a donation 

  Learn About MS
Common symptoms of MS include fatigue, weakness, spasticity, balance problems, bladder and bowel problems, numbness, vision loss, tremors and depression.
learn more 


Unless otherwise specified, all medical content is compiled by MSF staff and reviewed for accuracy by a member of our Medical Advisory Board.

The MSF strives to present clear and unbiased information. This site is partially funded through a grant from Bayer Healthcare, LLC.

© Copyright 2000-2013 Multiple Sclerosis Foundation - All Rights Reserved