In a previous ARCHIVES article, Giess et al1 reported an association of a null mutation in the CNTF gene with early onset of multiple sclerosis (MS). Because CNTF has myeloprotective and survival-promoting effects on neuronal cells, homozygosity for the null mutation (–/− genotype) may affect disease outcome. The authors identified 7 (2.4%) of 288 patients with MS as carriers of this genotype. These patients had a significantly earlier onset of the disease (median, 17.0 years; 25th percentile, 16.3 years; 75th percentile, 24.0 years) compared with patients carrying at least 1 functional CNTF allele (median, 27.0 years; 25th percentile, 22.0 years; 75th percentile, 33.0 years; P = .007 using the Mann-Whitney test).
Hoffmann V, Hardt C. A Null Mutation in the CNTF Gene Is Not Associated With Early Onset of Multiple Sclerosis. Arch Neurol. 2002;59(12):1974. doi: