Document Type : Original Article
Department of Medical Genetics, School of Medicine, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Department of Hematology, School of Paramedical Sciences, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
Department of Medical Genetics, School of Medicine, Cancer Research Centre, Shahid Beheshti University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran
4Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Faculty of Health, Qom University of Medical Sciences, Qom, Iran
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a common disease of the central nervous system. This disease may be initiated by either vitamin deficiency or triggered by abnormality in CYP24A1 and vitamin D receptor.
Materials and Methods
In this case-control study, the expression of genes encoding vitamin D receptor (VDR) and CYP24A1 in relapsing-remitting MS (RR-MS) patients was compared with normal individuals in the Iranian population. RNA from whole blood of 50 RR-MS patients (HLA-DRB1*15-negative and responders to interferon-beta with a normal vitamin D level) and 50 normal controls was extracted. The levels of CYP24A1 and VDR expression were measured using real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction.
The RR-MS group had a significantly more than 2 times higher expression level of VDR than the normal group (P=0.04). On the other hand, there was a 0.89 times decrease in the expression level of CYP24A1 in RR-MS patients which was not statistically significant. There was no linear correlation between the risk of expanded disability status scale of Kurtzke (EDSS) and the expression level of either CYP24A1 or VDR. In addition, the expression level of CYP24A1 or VDR was not correlated with the duration of the disease.
Up-regulation of VDR is likely to happen in RR-MS patients in the Iranian population. We did not observe a gene expression-phenotype correlation for CYP24A1 which may be due to limited statistical power as a result of the small sample size. Although the individuals taking part in this study had normal levels of vitamin D, the increase in VDR expression levels may perhaps be a response to a defect in vitamin D processing. Another possibility is that despite an increase in VDR expression level, factors such as micro-RNAs may result in their deactivation while an increase in VDR expression level can be seen as a compensatory response. Of course, further studies are required to identify the mechanism of action of vitamin D by analyzing genes involved in its signaling pathway, particularly VDR and CYP24A1.