Environmental risk factors for multiple sclerosis
Sammanfattning: Background Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. It usually strikes during young adulthood, and 2.5 million individuals are estimated to have the disease worldwide. The causes of MS are not known, but several factors have been shown to be associated with the risk of the disease, including certain genes, vitamin D, smoking and Epstein- Barr virus infection. Little is known about how/if these factors interact.Methods Study I: The risk of MS by month of birth was investigated using MS cases from the Swedish MS registry and using general population controls. Studies II–V: We identified MS cases who had donated blood prior to disease onset, and MS cases whose mothers had donated blood during pregnancy, by cross-linking a database of MS cases, and a database of mothers of MS cases, to two local biobank cohorts. One of them consisted of blood samples collected during early pregnancy, and one with samples collected during health controls. Levels of 25(OH)D (25-hydroxyvitamin D), RBP (retinol binding protein, a surrogate marker for vitamin A), CRP (C- reactive protein), cotinine (a nicotine metabolite) and anti Epstein-Barr virus nuclear antigen-1 (EBNA-1) antibodies were measured in cases and matched controls. The risk of MS by categories of these exposures was estimated in bi- and multivariable matched logistic regression models.Results Subjects born in spring had a higher risk of MS, but no influence of early gestational levels of the measured risk factors on the risk of MS in the offspring was observed. In prospective samples from MS cases and controls, 25(OH)D levels ?75 nmol/l, intermediate RBP levels, and elevated CRP levels in young were associated with a decreased risk of MS. Elevated cotinine levels (suggestive of smoking) and high antibody reactivity against EBNA-1 were associated with an increased risk of MS. All factors but RBP were more clearly associated with MS in young subjects.Conclusion All factors analyzed in prospectively collected samples were associated with the risk of MS, and taken together, the data indicate that the key etiopathological events that lead to MS occur before the age of 20–30. Study II provides support for trials exploring the primary preventive potential of oral vitamin D supplementation.
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