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New research sheds light on the role Vitamin D plays in MS

2 May 2016

There was a buzz in the media over the weekend following new research published in the Journal of Genes & Immunity which has identified the genetic switch which shows how immune cells are controlled by vitamin D, shedding light on how it may be used as a therapy for MS. 

The research group, led by Professor David Booth at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research in Sydney, says it has long been known that vitamin D deficiency is associated with autoimmune diseases such as MS, but until now researchers did not know the exact biological mechanism for this association.

Professor Booth and his team discovered that three known MS risk genes, which control vitamin D activation, are “turned on” in specific cells called myeloid cells. Myeloid cells are a type of immune cell found in the skin and lymph nodes. Until now, nobody has looked at how the genes work in these cells in relation to MS and vitamin D.

For more information on these findings, you can read MS Research Australia’s article here.