Multiple sclerosis genomic map implicates peripheral immune cells and microglia in susceptibility

Science. 2019 Sep 27;365(6460):eaav7188. doi: 10.1126/science.aav7188.


We analyzed genetic data of 47,429 multiple sclerosis (MS) and 68,374 control subjects and established a reference map of the genetic architecture of MS that includes 200 autosomal susceptibility variants outside the major histocompatibility complex (MHC), one chromosome X variant, and 32 variants within the extended MHC. We used an ensemble of methods to prioritize 551 putative susceptibility genes that implicate multiple innate and adaptive pathways distributed across the cellular components of the immune system. Using expression profiles from purified human microglia, we observed enrichment for MS genes in these brain-resident immune cells, suggesting that these may have a role in targeting an autoimmune process to the central nervous system, although MS is most likely initially triggered by perturbation of peripheral immune responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Case-Control Studies
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / genetics
  • Chromosome Mapping*
  • Chromosomes, Human, X / genetics
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins / genetics
  • Gene Frequency
  • Genetic Loci
  • Genome-Wide Association Study*
  • Genomics
  • Humans
  • Inheritance Patterns
  • Major Histocompatibility Complex
  • Microglia / immunology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / genetics*
  • Polymorphism, Single Nucleotide
  • Quantitative Trait Loci
  • RNA-Seq
  • Transcriptome


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • EVI5 protein, human
  • GTPase-Activating Proteins