Nature plus nurture: the triggering of multiple sclerosis.

Recent clinical and experimental studies indicate that multiple sclerosis develops as consequence of a failed interplay between genetic ("nature") and environmental ("nurture") factors. A large number of risk genes favour an autoimmune response against the body's own brain matter. New experimental data indicate that the actual trigger of this attack is however provided by an interaction of brain-specific immune cells with components of the regular commensal gut flora, the intestinal microbiota. This concept opens the way for new therapeutic approaches involving modulation of the microbiota by dietary or antibiotic regimens."




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