National Multiple Sclerosis Society
The cause of MS is still unknown. Scientists believe that a combination of environmental and genetic factors contribute to the risk of developing MS.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) involves an immune-mediated process in which an abnormal response of the body’s immune system is directed against the central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.
Within the CNS, the immune system causes inflammation that damages myelin — the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers — as well as the nerve fibers themselves, and the specialized cells that make myelin.
MS is considered to be an immune-mediated disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks myelin in the central nervous system.
Myelin – the protective coating around nerve fibers in the central nervous system – is a primary target of the immune attack in MS.
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