The role of HLA-DR and vitamin D in MS

Yellow flower, blue sky, bright sun

Dr Robert Busch

Roehampton University


About the project

We know that MS is likely to be caused by a complex combination of genetic and environmental factors. However, the link between the two is poorly understood.

The risk of developing MS is influenced by a number of genes, many of which regulate the immune system. In particular the HLA-DR gene is strongly linked with MS, for reasons which remain unclear. HLA-DR is known to play a role in helping immune cells communicate with each other. In MS this becomes a miscommunication which results in an immune attack on the central nervous system.

Recent research has revealed that vitamin D has a direct influence on the activity of genes that control HLA-DR and this study will explore this interaction. The project will examine HLA-DR in people with MS compared to people who don’t have MS to understand the differences. It will then look at how vitamin D affects HLA-DR, furthering our understanding of genetic and environment interactions in MS.

How will it help people with MS?

his project will bring us closer to understanding how important vitamin D is in MS. If increasing vitamin D levels is something that would help people with MS then it is vital that there is evidence to support this so that the best advice can be provided to people with MS.

The difference you can make

This is an active area of research that we are learning more and more about. We need to continue to do so and can’t without funding. Help us support projects like this.

The next research breakthrough is in reach

Your donation will help stop MS.

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    Our minimum donation is £2, please enter a different amount.

£30could process one blood sample, giving researchers crucial information about genes and the immune system.

£50could pay for an hour on a microscope, so scientists can study cells and tissue in greater detail and improve their understanding of the biology of MS.

£100could pay for half an hour of MRI use, so researchers can monitor the success of clinical trials and understand MS in more detail.

Every penny you give really does take us a step closer to stopping MS. Your donation will make a difference.

  • Please enter an amount

    Our minimum donation is £2, please enter a different amount.

£10a month could pay for lab equipment like microscope slides to study the building blocks of MS

£20a month could pay for lab equipment like petri dishes to grow bacteria important for studying genetics

£30a month could process a blood sample to help us understand what causes MS, so we can stop it in its tracks

Your regular donation means we can keep funding world class MS research with confidence. Together we will stop MS.

MS researcher at work in lab, using a pipette