Western Lifestyle and Immunopathology of Multiple Sclerosis

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2018 Apr;1417(1):71-86. doi: 10.1111/nyas.13583. Epub 2018 Jan 27.


There is increasing evidence for a sudden and unprecedented rise in the incidence of multiple sclerosis (MS) in Westernized countries over the past decades, emphasizing the role of environmental factors. Among many candidates, rapid changes in dietary habits seem to play a role in the pathogenesis of MS. Here, we summarize and discuss the available evidence for the role of dietary nutrients, such as table salt, fatty acids, and flavonoids, in the development and pathogenesis of MS. We also discuss new and emerging risk factors accompanying Western lifestyle, such as shift work, sleep, and circadian disruption.

Keywords: FOXP3+ Treg cells; TH17 cells; Western lifestyle; diet; environmental risk factors; multiple sclerosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmunity
  • Chronobiology Disorders / complications
  • Chronobiology Disorders / immunology
  • Diet, Western / adverse effects*
  • Fatty Acids / chemistry
  • Fatty Acids / immunology
  • Flavonoids / immunology
  • Gene-Environment Interaction
  • Humans
  • Life Style*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / etiology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology
  • Risk Factors
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / administration & dosage
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary / adverse effects


  • Fatty Acids
  • Flavonoids
  • Sodium Chloride, Dietary