Listed in Issue 230


COSSU and COLLEAGUES, (1)Dipartimento di Scienze Biomediche, Sezione di Microbiologia Sperimentale e Clinica, Università di Sassari, Italy. conducted a clinical trial to study risk factors to develop autoimmune disease due to polymorphisms of the SLC11A1 gene, associated with host mycobacterial survival.


Recent findings propose that Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis (MAP) infection could act as risk factor in favouring multiple sclerosis (MS) progression. SLC11A1 is a gene associated with mycobacterial survival in the host and it may be involved in the induction and maintenance of autoimmune disease.


In this preliminary study, 100 MS patients and 100 healthy controls (HCs) from Sardinia were enrolled. Eight single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in the SLC11A gene were searched by PCR RFLP-genotyping. IS900 specie specific PCR was undertaken to search for MAP presence. Indirect ELISA was performed to asses if MS patients displayed a stronger humoral response against MAP2694 protein compared to the HCs.


Only rs2276631 SNP was associated with MS. MAP DNA was detected in 23 out of 100 MS patients (23%) and in 7 out of 100 HCs (7%). A strong humoral response against MAP2694 protein was detected in 36% of MS patients and only in 3% of HCs. A correlation between ELISA sero-positivity and the rs2276631 SNP was also found.


The authors’ preliminary results suggest that the Sardinian population might be prone to develop autoimmune disease due to polymorphisms in immunomodulating the SLC11A1 gene, which is important in the immune response against intracellular bacteria such as MAP.


Cossu D(1), Masala S, Cocco E, Paccagnini D, Tranquilli S, Frau J, Marrosu MG, Sechi LA. Association of Mycobacterium avium subsp. paratuberculosis and SLC11A1 polymorphisms in Sardinian multiple sclerosis patients.  J Infect Dev Ctries.: 7(3):203-7. Mar 14 2013. doi: 10.3855/jidc.2737.

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