The Italian Journal of Neurological Sciences

, Volume 5, Issue 4, pp 347–356 | Cite as

A review of the etiology of multiple sclerosis

  • Vella V. 


The geographic distribution of multiple sclerosis and the influence of migration on the risk of contracting it point to an environmental factor as cause of the disease. This environmental factor might be a virus which might produce the demyelination process through an autoimmune reaction against components of the central nervous system. The other possible cause of multiple sclerosis is a genetic susceptibility, inferred from the higher risk for the disease found among relatives of patients with multiple sclerosis and on the association between the disease and some histocompatibility antigens of the HLA system. Both theories seem to be correct, with the environmental factors (s) causing multiple sclerosis only in the presence of a genetic susceptibility.


Prevalence cell-mediated immunity HLA 


La distribuzione geografica della sclerosi multipla e l'influenza che l'emigrazione ha sul rischio di contrarre la malattia indicano che essa potrebbe essere causata da un fattore ambientale. Questo fattore ambientale potrebbe essere un virus che produrrebbe il processo di demielinizzazione tramite una reazione autoimmunitaria contro componenti del sistema nervoso centrale. L'altra possibile causa della sclerosi multipla sarebbe lapresenza di una predisposizione genetica, comprovata dall'esistenza di unpiù alto rischio per la malattia tra i parenti di malati affetti da sclerosi multipla e dall'associazione trovata tra la malattia ed alcuni antigeni di istocompatibilità del sistema HLA. Ambedue le teorie sembrano corrette, i fattori ambientali causerebbero la sclerosi multipla solo in presenza di una predisposizione genetica.


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© Masson Italia Periodici S.r.l. 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vella V. 
    • 1
  1. 1.Roma

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