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Environmental Risk Factors for Multiple Sclerosis: A Review with a Focus on Molecular Mechanisms
School of Medicine, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland 4222, Australia
National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, the Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200, Australia
Menzies Research Institute Tasmania, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania 7000, Australia
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 31 July 2012; in revised form: 31 August 2012 / Accepted: 6 September 2012 / Published: 18 September 2012
Abstract: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disabling disease of the central nervous system commonly affecting young adults. Pathologically, there are patches of inflammation (plaques) with demyelination of axons and oligodendrocyte loss. There is a global latitude gradient in MS prevalence, and incidence of MS is increasing (particularly in females). These changes suggest a major role for environmental factors in causation of disease. We have reviewed the evidence and potential mechanisms of action for three exposures: vitamin D, Epstein Barr virus and cigarette smoking. Recent advances supporting gene-environment interactions are reviewed. Further research is needed to establish mechanisms of causality in humans and to explore preventative strategies.
Keywords: multiple sclerosis; demyelination; epidemiology; latitude; vitamin D; Epstein-Barr virus; smoking; gene-environment interaction
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O’Gorman, C.; Lucas, R.; Taylor, B. Environmental Risk Factors for Multiple Sclerosis: A Review with a Focus on Molecular Mechanisms. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13, 11718-11752.
O’Gorman C, Lucas R, Taylor B. Environmental Risk Factors for Multiple Sclerosis: A Review with a Focus on Molecular Mechanisms. International Journal of Molecular Sciences. 2012; 13(9):11718-11752.
O’Gorman, Cullen; Lucas, Robyn; Taylor, Bruce. 2012. "Environmental Risk Factors for Multiple Sclerosis: A Review with a Focus on Molecular Mechanisms." Int. J. Mol. Sci. 13, no. 9: 11718-11752.