Is MS genetic? Your genes are a blueprint for what makes you who you are. From hair colour through to predisposition for certain diseases, your genetics work like an instruction book for your body.
Genes can also change over time, either spontaneously or through being inherited, which is why some people ask if MS is hereditary.
People with MS may have slight gene variations, called polymorphisms. These are healthy genes that don’t fit together well. This means the way the cell works is altered, in particular with the brain, immune system and spinal cord.
The Human Leukocyte Antigen (HLA) gene – also known as Major Histocompatibility Complex or MHC – can play a role in a person developing MS. The HLA gene can be found on the surface of all body cells. It signals your body’s immune system to confirm if a cell is part of your body and therefore shouldn’t be attacked.
If something alters the HLA gene, your body may not be able to protect itself from attacks, which can lead to developing MS.