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Y Chromosome Affects MS-Like Disease Progression in Mice

Females have susceptibility similar to male littermates, suggesting an intrauterine influence

WEDNESDAY, May 31 (HealthDay News) -- The Y chromosome can influence the progression of multiple sclerosis-like disease in both male and female mice, according to a report in the May 23 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Females have a disease susceptibility and severity similar to their male littermates, suggesting the intrauterine environment can affect disease susceptibility, the authors report.

Cory Teuscher, Ph.D., from the University of Vermont in Burlington, and colleagues used a mouse model of multiple sclerosis, called experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), to determine whether parent-of-origin affects disease progression. Mice with different EAE susceptibility were backcrossed over multiple generations providing a total of 1,152 F2 mice.

The investigators found that disease susceptibility correlated with the origin of the Y chromosome in both males and females, and females with sires and grandsires that carried the susceptible Y chromosome were less likely to develop disease. Susceptible females tended to be born in litters with high male frequency suggesting that intrauterine positional effects, where developing fetuses are affected by hormones secreted from adjacent fetuses, may be the cause.

"These results establish that the Y chromosome influences EAE in both male and female mice and provide evidence for the existence of at least one polymorphic locus underlying the effects," the authors write.

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