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The Potential of Vitamin D in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis

Kloosterman, R (2018) The Potential of Vitamin D in the Treatment of Multiple Sclerosis. Bachelor's Thesis, Biology.

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Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in an inflammatory and demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system (CNS). The myelinated axons in the CNS are attacked by MS, causing demyelination in various degrees. Victims of MS often suffer from weakness, lack of coordination and impaired speech. Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE) in mice is often used as a model for MS and is widely used to study new strategies to control or cure MS. Vitamin D deficiency is highly prevalent in MS patients and recent studies showed that vitamin D deficiency is a risk factor for MS. The intake of vitamin D is mainly through skin exposure to sunlight, but the diet also provides a small percentage of the vitamin. The rate-limiting step in the synthesis of vitamin D is CYP27BI, an enzyme expressed in immune cells. The gene encoding for this enzyme may contribute to MS risk by decreasing the levels of active vitamin D. Previous studies showed that Myelin Oligodendrocyte Glycoprotein (MOG) in relapsing-remitting MS patients reduced the signs of disease activity furthermore MOG combined with vitamin D therapy downregulated the pro-inflammatory cytokine production. These studies show the potential of vitamin D in the treatment of MS. In this review, the effects of vitamin D on specific aspects of MS were reviewed, including myelination, tissue lesions, and the immune system. The effect of vitamin D on neural stem cells (NSC) was also overviewed, as presence of NSC in tissue lesions may indicate a repair process. Results showed that vitamin D can induce remyelination through triggering of the NSC to repair the damaged axons and that vitamin D can suppress apoptosis. However, vitamin D did not downregulate the cytokine production and leads to an increase in body weight and hypercalcemia. A synthetic analog of vitamin D, paricalcitol (PARI), did not lead to an increase in body weight and hypercalcemia. The data showed that vitamin D is very important in not only reducing the clinical symptoms, but also in triggering NSC differentiation and proliferation. The importance of vitamin D in the disease development implies that individuals who are at risk for MS should be screened for vitamin D deficiency.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Thesis)
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Thesis
Language: English
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2018 08:34
Last Modified: 15 Feb 2018 08:34

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