Inflammatory bowel disease reduces MS severity

Do you have inflammatory bowel disease as well as MS? It may be good news if you do. #MSBlog #MSResarch

“There has been a long reported association between inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), a putative autoimmune disease of the bowel, and MS. This study suggest that having both MS and IBD alters the course of MS, i.e. it makes it milder. Not sure how this would work biologically, but is an interesting observation. Could peripheral inflammation change the immune system in MS? Could the drugs that treat IBD work in MS as well? Lot’s of questions and plenty to find out.”

Epub: Zéphir et al. Milder multiple sclerosis course in patients with concomitant inflammatory bowel disease.Mult Scler. 2013 Dec 10.

Background: An association between multiple sclerosis (MS) and inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) has been suggested. 

Aim: The purpose of this study was to compare the disease course of MSers with both MS and IBD with that of MSers with isolated MS or isolated IBD. 

Methods: 66 MS-IBDers were identified and were matched with 251 isolated MSers and 257 isolated IBDers controls. Main outcomes were scores using the Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) in MS and extent of disease extension in IBD at last clinical evaluation. After a median 12 years of disease duration, the median EDSS and the percentages of MSers reaching an EDSS of 3.0 and 4.0 were significantly lower in MS-IBDers patients than in controls. 

Conclusions: MS had no impact on IBD. MS course appears to be milder in MSers with concomitant IBD.

About the author

Prof G

Professor of Neurology, Barts & The London. MS & Preventive Neurology thinker, blogger, runner, vegetable gardener, husband, father, cook and wine & food lover.


    • I'ld advise getting them gums cleaned as smelly breath keeps the friends away, it also helps keeps the teeth in place 🙂

  • If you have IBD, you're more likely to also have MS (previous association studies), but the MS is less likely to follow a severe course. Could the IBD be 'bumping' subclinical cases of MS into getting diagnosed? Those might be mild cases.

  • I wonder if you have inflammation elsewhere then it pulls in cells that can traffic into inflamed sites because of adhesion molecule and cytokine and if they are in the gut they can't be in the brain. In the EAE experiments with BCG vaccination this was suggested to be the mechanism of action.

  • One positive about this research is all the subjects pooled (majority without IBS) have a mean EDSS of less than 3 after 12 years post-diagnosis.

By Prof G



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