Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2012, 13(9), 11718-11752; doi:10.3390/ijms130911718
Review

Environmental Risk Factors for Multiple Sclerosis: A Review with a Focus on Molecular Mechanisms

1 School of Medicine, Griffith University, Gold Coast, Queensland 4222, Australia 2 National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health, the Australian National University, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 0200, Australia 3 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
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Recent Advances in the Research of Multiple Sclerosis)
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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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MDPI and ACS Style

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.

AMA Style

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.

Chicago/Turabian Style

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.

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