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 is an immune-mediated disease. This means that an abnormal response of the body’s immune system causes the disease. In this case, the immune system attacks the central nervous system (CNS) by mistake. The CNS is made up of the brain, spinal cord and optic nerves.
The immune system attack damages the myelin — the fatty substance that surrounds and insulates the nerve fibers — and the cells that make it. This damage to the myelin and the failure to replace it is called demyelination. Without myelin to protect the nerve fibers, they are also damaged.
The nerve damage caused by MS has different results:
The cause of MS is not known, but it is believed that genetic susceptibility, infectious disease, and environmental factors combine to trigger the disease. People with MS typically experience one of 4 disease courses (types of MS). There are over a dozen treatments to help modify the MS disease process. Learn about ongoing MS research to stop disease progression, restore what has been lost and end MS forever.
What is demyelination and how does it relate to MS? Learn how an abnormal immune response damages the central nervous system and causes MS symptoms.
Multiple sclerosis is an immune-mediated disease in which the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks myelin. Learn about the therapies for MS against this immune response.
Myelin — the protective coating around nerve fibers (axons) in the nervous system — is a primary target of the immune attack in MS. Learn about how myelin affects multiple sclerosis.
Here are a few related topics that may interest you
Our MS Navigators help identify solutions and provide access to the resources you are looking for. Call 1-800-344-4867 or contact us online.
Contact an MS Navigator
If you or someone close to you has recently been diagnosed, access our MS information and resources.