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Pregnancy reduces the frequency of relapses in Multiple Sclerosis (MS) and parity also has a beneficial long term effect on disease outcome. We aimed to uncover the biological mechanisms underlying the beneficial long-term effects of parity in MS. Genome-wide gene expression revealed 574 genes associated with parity; 38.3% showed significant DNA methylation changes (enrichment p = 0.029). These genes overlapped with previous MS genes in humans and a rat MS model and were overrepresented within axon guidance (P = 1.6e-05), developmental biology (P = 0.0094) and cell-cell communication (P = 0.019) pathways. This gene regulation could provide a basis for a protective effect of parity on the long-term outcome of MS.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neuroimmunol

Publication Date





38 - 49


DNA methylation, Gene expression, Multiple sclerosis, Pregnancy, Adult, Animals, DNA Methylation, Female, Genome-Wide Association Study, Humans, Multiple Sclerosis, Parity, Pregnancy, Pregnancy Complications, Rats