Immunity to tetanus is protective against the development of multiple sclerosis

T. Verstraeten, Robert Davis, F. DeStefano

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

5 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Following allegations that Hepatitis B vaccination causes or triggers multiple sclerosis (MS), several epidemiological studies have been conducted to evaluate the association between MS and vaccination. In one study conducted in the US, a significant protective effect on the development of MS was observed for tetanus immunization. We reviewed the medical literature and found two additional recent studies, as well as several older studies, which also observed a significant protective effect of tetanus immunization on the development or progression of MS. Furthermore, decreased humoral and cellular immunity to tetanus toxoid has been observed among MS patients. We postulate that naturally acquired or vaccine-induced immunity to tetanus has a protective effect against the development and progression of MS. We also postulate that this link to tetanus is in part responsible for the gender, age, geographic and socio-economic distribution of MS, as well as its pattern among migrants. The biological basis for this protective effect could be an unspecific boost of bystander suppression of auto-immunity as shown for other infections. Our hypothesis can be tested in several ways. The simplest approach would be to compare tetanus exposure and MS occurrence on a population level. Stronger support would come from the re-analysis of previous studies that have information at the individual level on both tetanus exposure, whether induced or natural, and on the development of MS. Laboratory evidence could be sought by testing the effect of tetanus toxoid on experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, the experimental animal model of MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)966-969
Number of pages4
JournalMedical Hypotheses
Volume65
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2005
Externally publishedYes

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Tetanus
Multiple Sclerosis
Immunity
Tetanus Toxoid
Immunization
Vaccination
Bystander Effect
Autoimmune Experimental Encephalomyelitis
Humoral Immunity
Hepatitis B
Cellular Immunity
Epidemiologic Studies
Vaccines
Animal Models
Economics

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Immunity to tetanus is protective against the development of multiple sclerosis. / Verstraeten, T.; Davis, Robert; DeStefano, F.

In: Medical Hypotheses, Vol. 65, No. 5, 01.12.2005, p. 966-969.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Verstraeten, T. ; Davis, Robert ; DeStefano, F. / Immunity to tetanus is protective against the development of multiple sclerosis. In: Medical Hypotheses. 2005 ; Vol. 65, No. 5. pp. 966-969.
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