Novel modulating effects of PKC family genes on the relationship between serum vitamin D and relapse in multiple sclerosis

This study from Australia looks at the interaction between genes and environmental factors on the clinical course of MS. In this case the researchers looked at genes in vitamin D metabolism and vitamin D receptor (VDR)/retinoid X receptor (RXR) transcription factor formation pathway in 141 people with RRMS. Gene-vitamin D interactions and the genetic predictors of relapse were assessed using survival analysis.

The researchers found that the relationship between 25-hydoxyvitamin D (25(OH)D) and risk of relapse was significantly different for different alleles of two intronic single nucleotide polymorphism (SNPs) in the protein kinase C (PKC) family genes. These two SNPs were found to significantly modify the association between serum 25(OH)D and hazard of relapse.

The researchers found two other SNPs which were significantly associated with lower levels of 25(OH)D. It is thought that MS may be the result of a misdirected immune response by autoreactive T cells against an unknown CNS antigen. Therefore, the researchers postulate that the abnormalities in PKC activity induced by one or more of these polymorphisms may lead to altered T cell function. In conclusion, this data supports the hypothesis that the interplay between genes and Vitamin D may influence the clinical course of MS as well as the PKC genes involved in the pathogenesis of MS relapse.

Authors: Lin R, Taylor BV
Source: J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry. 2013 Jul 18. [Epub ahead of print]

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