Higher Level of Antibody Could Explain Why MS Worse Among Blacks, Study Says
An antibody used as a diagnostic marker for multiple sclerosis is present in greater levels in the spinal fluid of blacks with MS than whites with the disease, according to a study published in the July 3 issue of Neurology, United Press International reports. For the study, John Rinker from Washington University School of Medicine measured levels of an immune system antibody called IgG in the spinal fluid of 66 black patients and 132 white patients with MS. According to the study, blacks had levels 29% higher than whites. High IgG levels have been linked to a more aggressive form of the disease, UPI reports (UPI, 7/2).
Rinker in a statement said that the "findings show that ethnic differences in multiple sclerosis extend to the immune response system, which plays a central role in multiple sclerosis." He added, "It remains possible that genes are unevenly distributed between ethnic groups to account for different susceptibility to some diseases," adding that "recent genetic studies have begun to identify certain genes, which may explain why [blacks] experience more disability" related to MS. However, the role of the genes remains unknown, according to Reuters Health (Reuters Health, 7/2).
An abstract of the study is available online.