Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disorder characterized by multifocal damage of myelin in the central nervous system (CNS). The prevalence of this putative autoimmune disease is 0.1% in individuals of northern European origin. Family, adoption and twin studies implicate genetic factors in the aetiology. MS is widely speculated to be a multifactorial disorder with a complex mode of inheritance. Despite many studies of candidate genes, only an association with HLA-DR2-DQ6 has been generally detected, and the number of susceptibility genes remains unknown. The chronic variant of experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE), a T-cell mediated autoimmune disease in rodents, represents a relevant animal model for MS given the chronic relapsing disease course and inflammatory changes of CNS observed in these demyelinating disorders. Susceptibility to EAE is also influenced by the major histocompatibility complex (MHC). Human syntenic regions to murine loci predisposing to EAE were tested as candidate regions for genetic susceptibility of MS. Three chromosomal regions (1p22-q23, 5p14-p12 and Xq13.2-q22) were screened in 21 Finnish multiplex MS families most originating from a high risk region in western Finland. Several markers yielded positive lod scores on 5p14-p12, syntenic to the murine locus Eae2. Our data provide evidence for a predisposing locus for MS on 5p14-p12.