Cossu, Davide (2016) Exploring the role of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis in multiple sclerosis. Doctoral Thesis.
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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Even though rigorous research was performed in MS field, its etiology as well the exact pathogenic mechanisms remain not well understood so far. Nevertheless it is believed to be a multifactorial disease, caused by environmental factors acting on a genetic predisposition. Several studies suggest that different microorganisms could play a role in triggering autoimmunity, through immunological cross-reactivity or molecular mimicry.
Recently it was reported an association between Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) and MS in Sardinia, proven both with the detection of bacterial DNA in the peripheral blood of MS patients, and with the finding of a strong humoral response against some MAP proteins which share homology with human proteins MS-related. Sardinians have a genetically isolated background characterized by a unique high-rate incidence of several autoimmune disorders such as MS. Taken together, this particular genetic makeup of Sardinians and the wide presence of a potentially infective microorganism such as MAP, could act synergistically in predisposing the population to develop MS.
We will try to understand if MAP is necessary for the development and progression of the disease, and if in case of co-infection, a synergism between MAP and others pathogens takes place.
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