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Genes, Gut Bacteria, and Age Combine to Bring on MS-like Disease in Mice

December 11, 2017

Researchers from Rutgers Robert Wood Johnson Medical School and others report that mice engineered to have immune system-related genes that help make people susceptible to MS only developed MS-like disease if gut bacteria were present, and were most likely to get the disease in adolescence or young adulthood, rather than later adulthood. The researchers also identified the biological “pathways” by which gut bacteria triggered disease-causing immune activity.

This study adds evidence to the potential role that intestinal bacteria play in the brain inflammation that underlies MS, and sheds light on how bacteria may interact with other possible risk factors. The Society continues to fund research in this area, including The MS Microbiome Consortium, a comprehensive analysis of gut bacteria in people with MS to determine factors that may drive progression and to develop future probiotic strategies for stopping MS progression. Find out how you can participate in this study.

Read more on the Rutgers website

Read the scientific summary in the PNAS journal

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis, and there is currently no cure for MS. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.


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