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Mult Scler. 2009 Aug;15(8):899-906. doi: 10.1177/1352458509106211.

Allergy and multiple sclerosis: a population-based case-control study.

Author information

1
Neurological Institute Foundation IRCCS Carlo Besta, Milan, Italy. rpedottie@istituto-besta.it

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Epidemiological studies on the association between allergic disorders, T-helper type 2 (Th2) mediated, and multiple sclerosis (MS), a T-helper type 1 (Th1)/Th17-mediated disease, provided conflicting results.

OBJECTIVE:

The aim of this study was to further examine the association between allergic disorders and MS.

METHODS:

The association between MS and previous medical history of any type of allergy has been investigated in a population-based case-control study conducted in Northern Italy, based on telephone interviews to 423 cases and 643 population controls (refusal rates 3.7% and 9.4%, respectively). Controls were a random sample of the general population.

RESULTS:

A history of atopic allergies seems to confer protection against MS (odds ratio [OR], 0.58; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.38-0.89; P = 0.012). In particular, the prevalence of allergic asthma was 4.9% in people with MS and 12% in control subjects (OR = 0.38; 95% CI 0.22-0.66, P < 0.01). No association was found between MS and nonatopic allergies.

CONCLUSIONS:

Our findings are confirmatory of the putative protective effect of Th2-mediated disorders on Th1 immune responses associated with MS. A unifying theory on the mechanisms by which previous history of atopic allergies may modify the risk of MS is still lacking.

PMID:
19667018
DOI:
10.1177/1352458509106211
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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