Scientists have for the first time found a gene that can be linked directly to the development of multiple sclerosis (MS).
While about 10 to 15 per cent of MS cases appear to have a hereditary component, until now researchers conducting genetic studies have found only weak associations between the risk of developing MS and particular gene variants.
In the current study, researchers at the University of British Columbia (UBC) studied the DNA of hundreds of families affected by the disease.
The researchers found the mutation in two Canadian families that had several members diagnosed with a rapidly progressive type of MS.
They found that people who carry the newly discovered mutation have a 70 per cent chance of developing the disease.
"The mutation we found, in a gene called NR1H3, is a missense mutation that causes loss of function of its gene product, LXRA protein," said neuroscientist Weihong Song, Canada Research Chair in Alzheimer's Disease at UBC and the study's other senior author.
"If you have this gene, chances are you will develop MS and rapidly deteriorate," added co-author Dr Anthony Traboulsee, the MS Society of Canada Research Chair at UBC.
The discovery provides a massive amounts of potential for developing new treatments that tackle the underlying causes, and not just the symptoms.
The finding has been published in the journal Neuron.
Source: Zee News © 1998-2016 Zee Media Corporation Ltd (02/06/16)