DNA changes offer clue behind pregnancy MS protection
Scientists may have uncovered one of the mechanisms behind the protective effects pregnancy may have on multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.
Women in the study who had children had various differences in methylation, which is a type of DNA modification, compared with those who had not ever been pregnant.
Some research on pregnancy and MS indicates that it is protective in the long term for women to have children. Some studies have found that it may delay the onset and progression of the condition.
Women are most commonly diagnosed at a reproductive age, usually between the ages of 20 and 40, so understanding the influence of pregnancy on MS is important in providing patient care.
The researchers said many of the genes affected by the methylation were to do with nerve cell development and function. “Based on these findings, we believe that pregnancy-induced differences in DNA methylation could underlie the long-term protective effect of pregnancy in women with MS,” said Pia Campagna, one of the study’s authors.