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Progress in Multiple Sclerosis Genetics

[ Vol. 13 , Issue. 8 ]


An Goris, Ine Pauwels and Benedicte Dubois   Pages 646 - 663 ( 18 )


A genetic component in the susceptibility to multiple sclerosis (MS) has long been known, and the first and major genetic risk factor, the HLA region, was identified in the 1970’s. However, only with the advent of genome-wide association studies in the past five years did the list of risk factors for MS grow from 1 to over 50. In this review, we summarize the search for MS risk genes and the latest results. Comparison with data from other autoimmune and neurological diseases and from animal models indicates parallels and differences between diseases. We discuss how these translate into an improved understanding of disease mechanisms, and address current challenges such as genotype-phenotype correlations, functional mechanisms of risk variants and the missing heritability.


Multiple sclerosis, Genetics, Genome-wide association, Risk, Linkage, Single nucleotide polymorphism, HLA, demyelination, axonal loss, cosegregation, microsatellite maps.


Laboratory for Neuroimmunology, KU Leuven, Herestraat 49 bus 1022, 3000 Leuven, Belgium.

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