To identify the major lymphocyte-specific epigenetic loci associated with susceptibility to MS

There are differentially methylated loci in specific lymphocyte subsets from MS cases compared to healthy controls that are important to disease pathology.

MS is a neurological disease which is partly based on lymphocyte-mediated inflammation causing neuron demyelination.  The underlying pathogenesis is caused by environmental and genetic factors.  Molecular genetic studies of MS to date have implicated genes involved the HLA system. The identification of the lymphocyte-specific DNA methylation profiles in MS patients, especially clarifying the role of HLA methylation, will advance understanding of epigenetic modification underlying MS pathogenesis.  In so doing this research should reveal a) potentially modifiable targets, for new drug design and b) highlight important candidates for blood-based biomarkers of MS risk and response to treatment.

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