Toxin in food bacteria may trigger MS
New research has found that a toxin produced by a common food bug is an environmental trigger that may cause people to develop multiple sclerosis.
MS is thought to be caused by genetically susceptible people being exposed to certain triggers. While those triggers aren’t fully known, a growing body of evidence, including this study, has found that a toxin called epsilon may be one trigger. Epsilon is toxin is produced by certain strains of Clostridium perfringens, a bacterium that causes food-borne illness. This bacterium is found in soil and contaminated undercooked meats.
For the study, researchers studied the toxin in mice, to see which cells it targeted. They found that it targeted both brain cells, and cells in other parts of the nervous system, which produced effects seen only in MS patients. They also tested 37 local food samples and found that 13.5 percent of them contained C. perfringens and 2.7 percent contained the epsilon toxin gene.
Researchers say if further studies confirm these findings, they may be able to develop a vaccine that neutralizes the toxin, and may stop the progression of MS.