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Multiple Sclerosis and Microbiome

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic autoimmune inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS). The disease leads to the formation of inflammatory lesions in the CNS, in which myelin sheaths break down and demyelinated axons are damaged. This leads to neurological symptoms such as impairment of motor functions, sensitivity, balance, vision, and sphincters, but also fatigue, depression, and cognitive changes.

This disease has a complex etiology with genetic and environmental factors playing a significant role. Studies in identical twins show that the genetic influence on the disease risk is only about 30% with human leukocyte antigen (HLA) genes being the most important factor. Environmental factors such as EB virus infection, vitamin D deficiency (increased prevalence with distance from the equator), smoking (apparently as an epigenetic factor), obesity, stress, and other unknown factors were suggested as being involved in the disease. Current evidence supports the microbiota as a factor contributing to inflammation and autoimmune reactions.

Over the past decade, there has been a growing recognition of the role of microbiota in the regulation of the so-called gut-brain axis in the maintenance of homeostasis. The gut-brain axis as a bidirectional signaling communication network is involved in the regulation of neural, hormonal, and immunological pathways and its dysfunction is implicated in various inflammatory, psychiatric, and neurodegenerative disorders (with MS being one of them).

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Preiningerova JL, Jiraskova Zakostelska Z, Srinivasan A, Ticha V, Kovarova I, Kleinova P, Tlaskalova-Hogenova H, Kubala Havrdova E. Multiple Sclerosis and Microbiome. Biomolecules. 2022 Mar 11;12(3):433. doi: 10.3390/biom12030433. PMID: 35327624; PMCID: PMC8946130.


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