Endocrine system dynamics and MS epidemiology.
Killinane, Kanturk, Co. Cork, Ireland. email@example.com
In the kidney there is a co-transport relationship in the nephron between the reabsorption of positive Na(+) ions and the reabsorption of negative ions such as uric acid anions. Uric acid acts as an anti-oxidant and it has been shown to have a sealing effect on the blood-brain barrier. The theory developed here is that chronic neurological vasoconstriction in cool environmental conditions injects an offset into the rennin-angiotensin-aldosterone system (RAAS) blood pressure control loop and reduces demand for angiotensin and aldosterone. (Aldosterone is produced in the adrenal gland and has a direct effect on renal reabsorption of Na(+) ions.) Via co-transport these conditions will reduce the body's ability to reabsorb uric acid and this in turn will weaken the integrity of the blood-brain barrier. Also, in cool environments, where levels of vasopressin (ADH) and aldosterone are lower, the gain of the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal gland (HPA) axis is reduced so that the production average levels of ACTH, cortisone and aldosterone will be biased at a lower level and the kidney-local levels of aldosterone in particular will remain lower. This paper develops these ideas and suggests that they can help explain the traditionally-recognized latitudinal gradient in MS epidemiology. Also, acclimatization to heat encourages sweating, which should create a greater demand for the renal reabsorption of Na(+) ions which enables greater reabsorption of uric acid. Therefore people living at low latitudes should have a lower chance of hypouricemia and a lower chance of developing MS. In fact people who spend their first fifteen years in the tropics almost never go onto develop MS. And MS patients in relapse are consistently hypouricemic. This hypothesis can explain both of these facts. The paper goes onto show how the MS condition will tend to progress because of a number of self-sustaining effects: over time the immune system becomes more targeted to myelin, MS patients are unlikely to become acclimatized to heat because they tend to avoid heat since demyelinated nerve function is worsened by elevated temperature, and the normal circadian excitation of the HPA axis gets weaker under the benign environmental conditions typically adopted by MS patients as the disease develops.
- [PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]