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Pediatric & Adult MS Share Many Genetic Variants

Mult Scler; ePub 2017 Oct 5; Gianfrancesco, et al

Pediatric and adult multiple sclerosis (MS) share many genetic variants suggesting similar biological processes are present, a recent study found. Major histocompatibility complex (MHC) variants beyond HLA–DRB1*15:01 and HLA–A*02 are also associated with pediatric-onset MS (POMS). Researchers comprehensively investigated the association between established MHC and non-MHC adult MS-associated variants and susceptibility to POMS. Cases with onset <18 years (n=569) and controls (n=16,251) were included. Adjusted logistic regression and meta-analyses were performed for individual risk variants and a weighted genetic risk score (wGRS) for non-MHC variants. Results were compared to adult MS cases (n= 7,588). They found:

  • HLA–DRB1*15:01 was strongly associated with POMS.
  • Furthermore, 28 of 104 non-MHC variants studied (23%) were associated; POMS cases carried, on average, a higher burden of these 28 variants compared to adults, though the difference was not significant.
  • The wGRS was strongly associated with POMS and higher, on average, when compared to adult cases.


Gianfrancesco MA, Stridh P, Shao X, et al. Genetic risk factors for pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis. [Published online ahead of print October 5, 2017]. Mult Scler. doi:10.1177/1352458517733551.