A toxin produced by a ubiquitous bacteria and common source of food poisoning can damage the same cells that are attacked in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Clostridium perfringens type B is commonly found in soil and human and animal intestines, but certain subtypes (B and D) produce a chemical that may become toxic when ingested. The toxin kills oligodendrocytes and binds to many of the sites where inflammation is seen in patients with MS. This suggests a mechanism by which the toxin might contribute to the disease. Patients with active MS are also more likely to have antibodies to the toxin compared with healthy individuals.
From JAMA’s Daily News Site. JAMA. 2014;311(13):1281. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.2920