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Cow Milk May Aggravate MS Symptoms, Research Suggests

Apr, 2022

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Researchers demonstrated how casein protein present in cow milk triggered autoimmune response in mice that amplified symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS)

Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is the foremost prevalent autoimmune disease affecting the central nervous system (CNS) that causes irreversible damages in patients. Researchers believe that pathophysiology of this disease is influenced by environmental factors. Now, a group of scientists at University of Bonn and University of Erlangen-Nuremberg demonstrated that a particular protein in cow milk triggers the autoimmune response that damages neurons in multiple sclerosis.

The team firstly used a specific component in milk that can aggravate MS symptoms. After numerous experiments conducted on mice, the researchers found that casein protein was the mainly responsible for this. However, this finding only indicated the link between enhanced symptoms of MS and milk consumption. The team further focused finding out the mechanism behind this phenomenon. According to the team, casein triggers an immune response which is misdirected, which means casein could resemble the similar antigens leading immune cells to incorrectly target brain cells that are healthy. The final step of this investigation was determining that this autoimmune response triggered by casein occurs in humans.

Furthermore, the team studied how these antibodies acted in human brain tissue and found that the casein antibodies did enhance in brain cell that produce myelin. Ultimately, the research concluded that dairy and MS symptoms are linked due to the casein protein present in milk that targets influx of immune antibodies, and these immune cells mistakenly attack some specific cells in the brain as the MAG protein resembles casein protein. The team highlighted that this mechanism is likely to be found only in people with already existing allergy to dairy. The researchers are now working on developing a test for patients with MS to identify their vulnerability to allergies of casein.

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