A risk of multiple sclerosis rises in people with specific variations in a protein, called the vitamin D receptor, that affects how this vitamin works and is metabolized in the body, a study drawn from a meta-analysis reports.
Its researchers suggest these variations, or changes within the protein, play a role in MS development.
Their study, “Association between vitamin D receptor (VDR) polymorphisms and the risk of multiple sclerosis (MS): an updated meta-analysis,” was published in the journal BMC Neurology.
Vitamin D is thought to be able to mitigate the risks of being diagnosed with MS. Studies have shown that people with this disease have lower serum vitamin D levels compared to healthy controls.
In the body, vitamin D modulates the immune system by binding to the vitamin D receptor (VDR). Variations in the VDR’s amino acid sequence — the building blocks of proteins — are related to changes in vitamin D’s function and metabolism.
These VDR variations — known as polymorphisms — may be connected to MS. As a result, many studies have sought to find a link.
However, multiple reviews (meta-analysis) of published studies also reported contradictory results. Some meta-analyses concluded that VDR variation plays a role in MS, while others did not.
As the strength of any one meta-analysis is based on which particular studies are reviewed, new studies can strengthen the analysis and provide more clarity.
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