Latest studies have made it evident that multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common neurological autoimmune issue amongst young adults worldwide. In 2016, 2,221,188 cases of MS were found. This disease can cause issues related to balance, coordination, movement, vision and sometime fatigue and other issues. In spite of the fact that MS cause loss of energy and has affected such a huge population of youth worldwide, scientists still couldn’t find out the roots to it.
A team of researchers from Geneva University and Geneva University Hospitals have suggested a new theory. Childhood viral infections might have reached the brain and coursed away the development of autoimmune condition during the latter half of life. Researchers approve this theory via evidence gathered from the observation of mouse models of MS.
Doron Merkler, associate professor at Department of Pathology and Immunology in the Faculty of Medicine of UNIGE said they have often asked themselves if viral infections of the brain during early phases of childhood might be one of the causes. However, these disappearing infections under special conditions often leave behind a mark, a swelling sign in the brain. This mark might have link with MS.
In the present study, Merkler injected transient viral infection in two different groups of mice – young ones and adults. In both the groups, there was no sign of developing disease and the infection disappeared within 7 days. Next, the mice were allowed to age and self-reactive cells were transferred into them which affect brain structure. Some also believe that it might a part in causing MS. However, these cells are dominated by various regulatory mechanisms and cannot reach brain easily. The mice that had viral infection in adulthood were safe. But, those who had viral infection during early childhood were in danger. Self-reactive cells had reached and infiltrated their brains. In fact, the cells reached exactly at the point where there had been viral infection before. Research in this field is continuing to understand why infection during childhood and not adulthood might cause MS.