Cossu, Davide and Cocco, Eleonora and Paccagnini, Daniela and Masala, Speranza and Ahmed, Niyaz and Frau, Jessica and Marrosu, Maria Giovanna and Sechi, Leonardo Antonio (2011) Association of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis with multiple sclerosis in Sardinian patients. PLoS One, Vol. 6 (4), e18482 . ISSN 1932-6203. Article.
Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) infection is highly spread in the ruminant herds of Sardinia, in the Western Mediterranean. The objective of this study was to investigate prevalence of MAP infection in association with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) using clinical specimen from patients and controls. We analyzed samples for the presence of MAP specific DNA and to demonstrate humoral response to a MAP protein (MAP2694), a predicted homologue of the T-cell receptor gamma-chain/complement component 1 of the host. We found presence of MAP DNA in 42% of the MS patients and an extremely significant humoral immune response revealed by the MS patients against the MAP protein. In our opinion, this is the first report that significantly associates MAP infection with MS. Further studies will be required to confirm if MAP could be one of the triggers of MS, according to the molecular mimicry theory, in susceptible (and genetically at risk) individuals.
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