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Julie  Stachowiak, Ph.D.

Is MS Genetic? New Research Finds Genetic Link for MS.

By July 30, 2007

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A new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine found a new genetic risk factor for MS. The study shows that people whose bodies create one type of a protein (IZ7-R) are more likely to have MS than people whose bodies create another type of the same protein. (Note: Genes control how proteins are made in the body - so changes in protein type represent a difference in genetics.)

IZ7-R is a protein whose role is to guide the actions of one type of immune cells (T-cells). The MS-related version of the protein may contribute to MS by guiding those immune cells to attack the nervous system.

Does this mean that MS is a genetic disease? Not exactly. The expression of genes can be influenced by many factors. There is certainly a genetic component to MS, but this may not explain the whole picture. This new study doesn't disprove the viral, vitamin D or other theories of MS. It does shed new light on how MS may work in the body and could provide routes to new MS treatments in the future. Learn More About the Causes of MS.

August 9, 2007 at 4:01 pm
(1) Caryn says:

Thank you for the article. I have MS. My sister is considering getting pregnant. As this is often a trigger for MS onset, is there a genetic test available for family of MS patients to test their susceptibility to the disease?

August 10, 2007 at 9:22 am
(2) ms says:

Thank you for your question. I found it so interesting that I actually answered you in a blog post so that other people could see the answer. I hope this information helps you and your sister.

April 1, 2008 at 3:20 pm
(3) Emily says:

Hello, my name is Emily Hudson. My fathers name was Jimmy Hudson. He had MS and died at 31. I was trying to find out if there was any way that I could find out for sure. Maby some percentages would be helpful. But anything would be helpful. If you have any information please let me know. Thank you very much.

September 28, 2008 at 11:13 pm
(4) jackie says:

My friend stopped eating all land based meat and her MS symptoms have disappeared. Is this a cure or is it just coincidence.

November 9, 2008 at 9:15 pm
(5) Kim Waters says:

My paternal grandmother had MS as well as my paternal uncle, who was in Vietnam. My cousin, his daughter was just diagnosed with MS at 27 years old. I find it hard to believe that genetics do not play a significant role in this disease.

April 19, 2009 at 4:48 pm
(6) CJ says:

My mother was diagnosed with MS about 15 years ago. We have recently learned that my older sister also has it. Do the odds of me getting it increase since both my mother and sister have it?

December 8, 2009 at 11:33 am
(7) Destiny says:

HI am destiny my mom is 52 and she has MS, this helps me to see if i have a chans to get it.
My mom is not the only one in my family that has MS
my dads mom has it to.
I always tell my mom that i was put with her for a reason……….i no i am. I am 15 and my mom has had MS seans 88.
I just wanted to say THANK YOU, and tell a lil bout us.

January 4, 2010 at 2:29 am
(8) Melissa says:

2 of my aunts have it does that decreese my odds or increese them. my mother has a vitamin D difficiancy and lives in Montana. Is my mother at risk, am I at risk?

April 26, 2011 at 5:05 pm
(9) Kathy says:

My mom has MS and is permanently in a wheelchair. She was diagnosed when she was pregnant with me so could I possibly have or get MS through the transfer of genetics? Thanks.

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