Is multiple sclerosis a hereditary disease?

Is multiple sclerosis a hereditary disease?
Written by TEWSV


  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system (brain and spinal cord).
  • That is to say that the defense system (immune system), usually involved in the fight against viruses and bacteria, lets itself be transported and attacks myelin, the protective sheath of nerve fibers that plays an important role in the propagation of nerve impulses from the brain in different parts of the body.

“It is a question that comes up very quickly during the consultation, because it is a disease that often affects young women. And most of the time, the patient is more concerned about what it can transmit than about multiple sclerosis. This affects her. because it is a pathology that sometimes manifests itself in the middle of a life project “, explains Jérôme de Sèze, professor of neurology at the Strasbourg University Hospital and specialist in autoimmune diseases and neuroophthalmology. “But no, multiple sclerosis is not a hereditary disease in the genetic sense of the term, which means that we don’t know the multiple sclerosis gene, we only have genes associated from inflammation to the development of the disease. What we do know is that the risk. to pass on multiple sclerosis to their children is less than 5% “, adds the specialist.

serious connotation

“Multiple sclerosis is a disease with a serious connotation. It is true that when this diagnosis is announced, either the patients do not know it, or they immediately see the handicap, the cane and the wheelchair”, more details Jérôme de Sèze. “Having said that, it is a disease whose prognosis has completely changed in 20 years thanks in particular to the arrival of new ultra-early and increasingly effective therapies, which improve the comfort of life”, he continues.

Multiple sclerosis is a young adult disease often diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 35. 120,000 people in France are now affected by the disease and 3,000,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.


The appearance of neurological disorders affecting various functions (motor skills, sensitivity, vision, balance, coordination of movements, etc.) and evolving into initially regressive exacerbations is highly indicative of multiple sclerosis. Doctors speak of inflammatory flare-ups “disseminated over time and in the central nervous system”. But the symptoms can be much more misleading, especially in the case of mood disorders (depression or manic disorder), which can evoke bipolar disease, while they are demyelination plaques that affect the limbic system, located in the deep brain.

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