A team of European scientists has discovered the first genetic variant for multiple sclerosis (MS) that is specifically active in neurons (Aulchenko YS et al. Nat Genet. 10.1038/ng.251 [published online ahead of print November 9, 2008]).
Variants that increase the risk of MS had previously been identified, in genes that affect immune function—not surprising in light of compelling evidence of autoimmunity's role in MS. However, studies also have suggested that neurodegenerative processes play a role in disease progression.
Stephenson J. Multiple Sclerosis Clue. JAMA. 2008;300(23):2717. doi:10.1001/jama.2008.849