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Mult Scler. 2008 Jul;14(6):823-9. doi: 10.1177/1352458508088936. Epub 2008 Jun 23.

Autoimmune diseases in patients with multiple sclerosis and their first-degree relatives: a nationwide cohort study in Denmark.

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  • 1Department of Epidemiology Research, Statens Serum Institut, Copenhagen, Denmark. nmn@ssi.dk



Multiple sclerosis (MS) and other autoimmune diseases might cluster. Our aim was to estimate the relative risk (RR) of other autoimmune diseases among MS patients and their first-degree relatives in a population-based cohort study.


Using the Danish Multiple Sclerosis Register, the Danish Hospital Discharge Register, and the Danish Civil Registration System, we estimated RRs for 42 different autoimmune diseases in a population-based cohort of 12 403 MS patients and 20 798 of their first-degree relatives. Ratios of observed to expected numbers of autoimmune diseases, based on national sex-, age-, and period-specific incidence rates, served as measures of the RRs.


Compared with the general population, MS patients were at an increased risk of developing ulcerative colitis (RR = 2.0 (95% confidence interval (CI): 1.4-2.8), n = 29) and pemphigoid (RR = 15.4 (CI: 8.7-27.1), n = 12) but at reduced risk of rheumatoid arthritis (RR = 0.5 (CI: 0.4-0.8), n = 28) and temporal arteritis (RR = 0.5 (CI: 0.3-0.97), n = 11). First-degree relatives of MS patients were at increased risks of Crohn's disease (RR = 1.4 (CI: 1.04-1.9), n = 44), ulcerative colitis (RR = 1.3 (CI: 0.99-1.7), n = 51), Addison's disease (RR = 3.4 (CI: 1.3-9.0), n = 4), and polyarteritis nodosa (RR = 3.7 (CI: 1.4-10.0), n = 4).



with MS and their first-degree relatives seem to be at an increased risk of acquiring certain other autoimmune diseases.

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