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Neurology. 1996 Aug;47(2):347-52.

Clinical concordance in sibling pairs with multiple sclerosis.

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  • 1University of Cambridge Neurology unit, Addenbrooke's Hospital, England.


As part of a linkage study, we obtained clinical, demographic, and genetic information on 210 families with siblings concordant for multiple sclerosis (MS). Twenty-eight pairs were excluded and information was incomplete in a further 16 pairs; intrafamilial comparisons of the clinical course are reported on the remaining 166 families (155 pairs and 11 trios) in whom complete data sets were available. The demographic characteristics were comparable to those of recently performed prevalence studies in the United Kingdom, supporting the application of results in these families for genetic linkage studies in MS. We observed no significant correlation for age at onset after correction for selection bias but found a minor correlation for year at onset, which we speculate is due to earlier recognition of symptoms in second affected siblings. There was no pair-wise concordance for presenting symptoms or disability at time of assessment. However, there was a strong correlation for disease course and to a lesser degree for gender. In addition, the familial recurrence rate was 33%, almost twice that previously recorded in a local prevalence study. These results suggest that the etiology of MS involves random exposure to an, as yet unidentified, environmental trigger and the clinical features of familial disease are modified by inherited factors. That the risk of developing MS is not spread uniformly among families has important implications for the counseling of individuals with familial disease.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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