Genomic Screening in Multiple Sclerosis
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is caused by an interplay of environmental and genetic factors. Their relative weight can be evaluated, as in all diseases, by three approaches: population epidemiology, twin concordance and family aggregation studies. Epidemiological studies point to environmental factors, likely one or more infectious agents, playing a major role as demonstrated by alteration of MS risk consequent to migration from high to low risk areas and viceversa and by occasional “epidemics” in small communities after contact with groups of individuals from high risk areas . However, they also demonstrate the importance of genetic factors in that some ethnic groups maintain their relative resistance to MS even when they reside in areas where MS is common (e.g. Gypsies in Hungary, Blacks and Asians in USA, Maoris in New Zealand, and Lapps in Scandinavia ). Twin studies clearly demonstrate the role of genetic factors since monozygotic (MZ) concordance is substantially above dizygotic (DZ) concordance (25%–30% versus 3%), but also show the importance of the environment since the concordance level in MZ twins is well below 100%.
KeywordsMultiple Sclerosis Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis Spinal Muscular Atrophy Experimental Allergic Encephalomyelitis Multiplex Family
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