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The role of HLA-DR and vitamin D in MS

A photo showing a flower and the sun
Lead researcher:
Dr Robert Busch
Based at:
Roehampton University
MS Society funding:

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.