In a previous study, we demonstrated that mouse adult F(1) offspring, exposed to a vitamin D deficiency during pregnancy, developed a less severe and delayed Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis (EAE), when compared with control offspring. We then wondered whether a similar response was observed in the subsequent generation. To answer this question, we assessed F(2) females whose F(1) parents (males or females) were vitamin D-deprived when developing in the uterus of F(0) females. Unexpectedly, we observed that the vitamin D deficiency affecting the F(0) pregnant mice induced a precocious and more severe EAE in the F(2) generation. This paradoxical finding led us to assess its implications for the epidemiology of Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in humans. Using the REFGENSEP database for MS trios (the patient and his/her parents), we collected the parents’ dates of birth and assessed a potential season of birth effect that could potentially be indicative of the vitamin D status of the pregnant grandmothers. A trend for a reduced number of births in the Fall for the parents of MS patients was observed but statistical significance was not reached. Further well powered studies are warranted to validate the latter finding.
The study in mice is interesting and needs repetition, however to equate the role of vitamin D in animals with that in humans is not going to be that productive. Mice spend most of their life in the dark in mouse holes and vitamin D biology is likely to be different. Confused? So am I.
Investigating the month of birth effect in second generation MSers has not yet found anything interesting, Why not take it back another generation, so on and so forth?