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Sep 11, 2009

Scientists Home In On Two Genes Associated with MS

  • A Mayo Clinic study has found that two genes in mice were associated with good central nervous system repair in multiple sclerosis (MS). The details are to be presented today at the “Congress of the European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis” in Dusseldorf, Germany.

    “Most MS genetic studies have looked at disease susceptibility or why some people get MS and others do not,” points out Allan Bieber, Ph.D., a Mayo Clinic neuroscientist. “This study asked, among those who have MS, why do some do well with the disease, while others do poorly, and what might be the genetic determinants of this difference in outcome.”

    Dr. Bieber’s research team used two different strains of mice with a chronic, progressive, MS-like disease. One strain progressed to paralysis and death. The other underwent the initial damage-induction phase of the disease and then spontaneously repaired the damage to the central nervous system and retained most neurologic function.

    The investigators were able to map two strong genetic determinants of good disease outcome. “The genetic data indicates that good central nervous system repair results from stimulation of one genetic pathway and inhibition of another genetic pathway.”

    Dr. Bieber believes that there may be a small number of strong genetic determinants for central nervous system repair following demyelinating disease rather than a larger number of weak determinants.

    “If that's true, it may be possible to map the most important genetic determinants of central nervous system repair in patients with MS and define a reparative genotype that could predict patients' outcomes,” says Moses Rodriguez, M.D., a Mayo Clinic neurologist and director of Mayo Clinic's Center for Multiple Sclerosis and Central Nervous System Demyelinating Diseases Research and Therapeutics.


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