Is There a Genetic Component to Multiple Sclerosis?

Read Transcript

There are certain genes that are more highly represented in the MS population versus the general population. These genes by and large code for immune responses as you would expect, given it's an immune mediated disease. There is a certain incidence in families, it's said to be as high as 15% that is a first degree relative will also have it.

That may be a little high for some of us like myself but that is what it said. The incidents in twins is very interesting. Identical twins have an incidence of about 25% concordance. So, not like a genetic disease like Jerry's kids with muscular dystrophy, where you can predict who's going to get it. If you have the gene you get the illness.

It's not the same in multiple sclerosis. For non-twin siblings it's about 4%. So the answer basically is that the component of genetics is about 3% of the overall chance of getting multiple sclerosis that's its contribution.