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J Neuroimmunol. 2006 Oct;179(1-2):145-51. Epub 2006 Jul 14.

Association between microchimerism and multiple sclerosis in Canadian twins.

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Department of Clinical Neurology, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK.


Microchimerism, the persistence of foreign cells thought to derive from previous pregnancies, has been associated with autoimmune diseases. A maternal parent-of-origin effect in MS remains unexplained. We tested for microchimerism in monozygotic and dizygotic twin-pairs with MS. Microchimerism was associated with MS in affected females from monozygotic concordant pairs when compared to both affected (p=0.020) and unaffected (p=0.025) females in monozygotic discordant pairs. Microchimerism was increased in affected females of dizygotic discordant pairs (p=0.059). The rate of microchimerism was significantly higher in affected twins than in unaffected co-twins (p=0.0059). These observations show an association in twins between the presence of microchimerism and having MS.

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