Is multiple sclerosis inherited? What's the genetic factor?
Genetics may play a role in determining who gets multiple sclerosis. Overall, the chance of developing multiple sclerosis is less than one-tenth of 1 percent. However, if one family member has multiple sclerosis, that person's first-degree relatives (parents, children and siblings) have a 1 percent to 3 percent risk of getting multiple sclerosis. Although no specific gene for multiple sclerosis has been identified, several researchers have concluded that people with multiple
sclerosis inherit certain regions on individual chromosomes more often than people without multiple sclerosis. Researchers are investigating the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) on chromosome 6, since the HLA patterns of multiple sclerosis patients appear to be different from those who do not have multiple sclerosis.
Multiple sclerosis is a typical complex trait and susceptibility is genetically determined. In the population at large, the chance of developing multiple sclerosis is less than a tenth of one percent. However, if one person in a family has multiple sclerosis, that person's first-degree relatives parents, children, and siblings have a one to three percent chance of getting the disease. For identical twins, the likelihood that the second twin may develop multiple sclerosis if the first twin does is about 30 percent; for fraternal twins (who do not inherit identical gene pools), the likelihood is closer to that for non-twin siblings, or about 4 percent. The fact that the rate for identical twins both developing multiple sclerosis is significantly less than 100 percent suggests that the disease is not entirely genetically controlled. Some (but definitely not all) of this effect may be due to shared exposure to something in the environment, or to the fact that some people with multiple sclerosis lesions remain essentially asymptomatic throughout their lives. In addition, increasing scientific evidence suggests that genetics may play a role in determining a person's susceptibility to multiple sclerosis. Some populations, such as Gypsies, Eskimos, and Bantus, never get multiple sclerosis. Native Indians of North and South America, the Japanese, and other Asian peoples have very low incidence rates. It is unclear whether this is due mostly to genetic or environmental factors.
Although no specific gene for multiple sclerosis has been identified, several researchers have concluded that people with multiple sclerosis inherit certain regions on individual chromosomes more often than people without multiple sclerosis. Researchers are investigating the human leukocyte antigen (HLA) on chromosome 6, since the HLA patterns of multiple sclerosis patients appear to be different from those who do not have multiple sclerosis. Development of multiple sclerosis is likely to be influenced by the interactions of a number of genes, each of which (individually) has only a modest effect. Additional studies are needed to specifically pinpoint which genes are involved, determine their function, and learn how each gene's interactions with other genes and with the environment make an individual susceptible to multiple sclerosis. In addition to leading to better ways to diagnose multiple sclerosis, such studies should yield clues to the underlying causes of multiple sclerosis and, eventually, to better treatments or a way to prevent the disease.
More information on multiple sclerosis
What is multiple sclerosis? - Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the central nervous system characterized by the hardening of patches of tissue in the brain and spinal cord.
What causes multiple sclerosis? - Multiple sclerosis is caused by an unknown agent that gradually destroys the myelin covering, or sheath, of nerve fibers, resulting in a temporary interruption.
Is multiple sclerosis inherited? - Multiple sclerosis is a typical complex trait and susceptibility is genetically determined. People with MS inherit certain regions on individual chromosomes more often than people without MS.
What's the typical course of multiple sclerosis? - Multiple sclerosis is recognized as occurring with seven different patterns. Multiple sclerosis starts with an acute flare-up of symptoms within hours to days.
Who is at the risk of multiple sclerosis? - Multiple sclerosis affects women almost twice as frequently as men. Climate, diet, geomagnetism, toxins, sunlight, genetic factors, and infectious diseases are risk factors for multiple sclerosis.
What types of multiple sclerosis are there? - Multiple sclerosis have different patterns including relapsing/remitting multiple sclerosis, secondary progressive multiple sclerosis, progressive relapsing multiple sclerosis.
What're the signs and symptoms of multiple sclerosis? - The first symptoms of multiple sclerosis are often visual changes. Later symptoms may include fatigue, muscle spasticity and stiffness, tremors, paralysis, pain.
How is multiple sclerosis diagnosed? - A definite diagnosis of multiple sclerosis requires evidence for dissemination of lesions within the central nervous system both in space and in time.
What's the treatment for multiple sclerosis? - The treatment of multiple sclerosis aims at decreasing the rate and severity of relapse, reducing the number of lesions, delaying the progression of the disease.
What's prognosis of multiple sclerosis? - Most people with multiple sclerosis will be able to continue to walk and function at their work for many years after their diagnosis.
Dietary therapy for multiple sclerosis - The main role of diet in multiple sclerosis is to enable people to manage common problems which include fatigue, incontinence and constipation.
Nutritional supplements for multiple sclerosis - Nutritional therapy is used for alleviating the symptoms of multiple sclerosis or altering the natural course of the disease.
Does multiple sclerosis affect pregnancy? - Multiple sclerosis has no adverse effects on the course of pregnancy, labor, or delivery. Pregnancy doesn't affect the long term course of the disease.
Can vitamin D reduce multiple sclerosis risk? - Vitamin D supplements may positively influence the immune systems of patients with multiple sclerosis. Vitamin D has a beneficial influence on ongoing multiple sclerosis.