PerspectiveGenomics

Unraveling susceptibility to multiple sclerosis

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Science  27 Sep 2019:
Vol. 365, Issue 6460, pp. 1383-1384
DOI: 10.1126/science.aay1439

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Summary

Multiple sclerosis (MS) affects over 2.3 million people worldwide (1, 2). This autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (CNS) is a leading cause of nontraumatic disability in young and middle-aged adults, disproportionately affecting women and those of northern European ancestry (3). MS pathogenesis is multifactorial, with prominent genetic and environmental risk components. However, the events mediating onset continue to elude researchers. On page 1417 of this issue, Patsopoulos et al. (4) identified 232 autosomal variants and the first X chromosome variant associated with MS susceptibility. Additionally, Cotsapas et al. (5) discovered five independent autosomal risk variants. These studies add resolution to the known function of adaptive immune responses and suggest a prominent role for dysregulation in multicellular innate immune processes in the narrative of MS susceptibility.

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