New research in The FASEB Journal suggests that the effects of salt on MS could be governed by an individual’s genetics and/or sex/gender.
Here’s another reason to put the salt shaker down: New research in mice shows that diets high in sodium may be a novel risk factor in the development of multiple sclerosis (MS) by influencing immune cells that cause the disease. Although this research does implicate salt intake as a risk factor, it is important to note that dietary salt is likely just one of the many environmental factors contributing to this complex disease, and very much influenced by one’s genetic background. This finding was published in the August 2015 issue of The FASEB Journal.
“We hope to provide a comprehensive understanding of how and why environmental factors interact with individuals’ unique genetic make up to influence autoimmune diseases such as MS,” said Dimitry N. Krementsov, Ph.D., a researcher involved in the work from the Department of Medicine, Immunobiology Program at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont.
To make this discovery, Krementsov and colleagues fed a high salt diet or a control diet to three genetically different groups of mice. Researchers then induced a disease in these mice that mimics human MS. In one genetic group, both males and females fed a high salt diet showed worse clinical signs of the disease. In the other genetic group, only females showed a negative response to salt. In the third genetic group, there was no response to salt. Genetics were the critical factor. In the mice that did respond to salt, there were no direct changes in the function of their immune cells, but they showed signs of a weakened blood-brain barrier.
“As is the case with other things, you need to get enough salt so your body functions properly, but not too much or things start to go haywire,” said Gerald Weissmann, M.D., Editor-in-Chief of The FASEB Journal. “This report helps shed light on what can go wrong in individuals with genes that make one susceptible to autoimmune disease. It also helps us understand how much salt is just right for any given individual.”
Source: Cody Mooneyhan – FASEB
Image Credit: The image is in the public domain
Original Research: Abstract for “Exacerbation of autoimmune neuroinflammation by dietary sodium is genetically controlled and sex specific” by Dimitry N. Krementsov, Laure K. Case, William F. Hickey, and Cory Teuscher in FASEB Journal. Published online August 2015 doi:10.1096/fj.15-272542
Exacerbation of autoimmune neuroinflammation by dietary sodium is genetically controlled and sex specific
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating autoimmune neuroinflammatory disease influenced by genetics and the environment. MS incidence in female subjects has approximately tripled in the last century, suggesting a sex-specific environmental influence. Recent animal and human studies have implicated dietary sodium as a risk factor in MS, whereby high sodium augmented the generation of T helper (Th) 17 cells and exacerbated experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), the principal model of MS. However, whether dietary sodium interacts with sex or genetics remains unknown. Here, we show that high dietary sodium exacerbates EAE in a strain- and sex-specific fashion. In C57BL6/J mice, exposure to a high-salt diet exacerbated disease in both sexes, while in SJL/JCrHsd mice, it did so only in females. In further support of a genetic component, we found that sodium failed to modify EAE course in C57BL6/J mice carrying a 129/Sv-derived interval on chromosome 17. Furthermore, we found that the high-sodium diet did not augment Th17 or Th1 responses, but it did result in increased blood–brain barrier permeability and brain pathology. Our results demonstrate that the effects of dietary sodium on autoimmune neuroinflammation are sex specific, genetically controlled, and CNS mediated.—Krementsov, D. N., Case, L. K., Hickey, W. F., Teuscher, C. Exacerbation of autoimmune neuroinflammation by dietary sodium is genetically controlled and sex specific.
“Exacerbation of autoimmune neuroinflammation by dietary sodium is genetically controlled and sex specific” by Dimitry N. Krementsov, Laure K. Case, William F. Hickey, and Cory Teuscher in FASEB Journal. Published online August 2015 doi:10.1096/fj.15-272542