Severity Of MS Associated With Gene Variant

A recent study showed that a particular gene variant may increase the severity of MS symptoms. The gene variant known as oligodenylate synthetase or OAS1 was studied by researchers from St. Vincent’s University Hospital in Dublin Ireland to look for links between the said gene and MS. The results of the research will be published on the August issue of Neurology medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.

The researchers in the study screened for the OAS1gene among 401 people with MS, 394 people without MS as well as 178 patients receiving beta interferon treatments for their MS. During the screening and analysis related to the OAS1 gene, it was shown that 64 percent of the participants with MS had the AA genotype compared to 57 percent of participants in the study who did not have MS. The GG genotype was found in 37 percent of the participants with MS while 43 percent of the people without MS had the genotype.

Although there remains to be a weak association between the OAS1 gene and an individual’s susceptibility to MS, it seems that those people who had the AA genotype experienced early relapses and increased disease activity as compared to those without the genotype.

The study also found out that those people with the GG genotype had lesser disease activity and relapses according to study author Margaret O’Brien, PhD, with St. Vincent’s University Hospital, “While we don’t understand why some patients vary so widely in their disease activity, this genetic association may give us clues to help direct future research.”

“It’s possible that the GG genotype may protect against increased disease activity in people with MS, but more research is needed,” O’Brien further added.

Source: American Academy of Neurology. “Gene Variant May Increase Severity of Multiple Sclerosis.” ScienceDaily 3 August 2010. 17 August 2010 <http://www.sciencedaily.comĀ­ /releases/2010/08/100802165358.htm

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