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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

1/29/2014 (1 year ago)

Catholic Online (

Epsilon toxin may be the culprit behind debilitating disease

According to a new study, multiple sclerosis, or as it more commonly known, MS may be triggered by a toxin produced by common bacteria found in food. An inflammatory disease of the central nervous system, MS is believed to be triggered in a genetically susceptible individual by a combination of one or more environmental factors. The triggers are not yet known.

Epsilon toxin is produced by certain strains of Clostridium perfringens, which is a spore-forming bacterium that is one of the most common causes of food borne illness.

Epsilon toxin is produced by certain strains of Clostridium perfringens, which is a spore-forming bacterium that is one of the most common causes of food borne illness.


By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (

1/29/2014 (1 year ago)

Published in Health

Keywords: Multiple sclerosis, foodborne illnesses, epsilon toxin

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - U.S. scientists using previous studies now suggested that epsilon toxin, which is produced by common bacteria, could in fact trigger MS.

Known as an autoimmune condition, something goes wrong with the patient's immune system. This can cause multiple sections of the brain and spinal column to become damaged and hardened.

Please pray for the sick.

MS is also characterized by blood brain permeability and demyelination, a process in which the insulating myelin sheaths of neurons are damaged.

"We provide evidence that supports epsilon toxin's ability to cause permeability and show that epsilon toxin kills the brain's myelin producing cells, oligodendrocytes - the same cells that die in MS lesions," microbiologist Jennifer Linden of Weill Cornell Medical College, says. Linden presented the new research at the ASM Biodefense and Emerging Diseases Research Meeting.

"We also show that epsilon toxin targets other cells types associated with MS inflammation such as the retinal vascular and meningeal cells . Epsilon toxin may be responsible for triggering MS."

Epsilon toxin is produced by certain strains of Clostridium perfringens, which is a spore-forming bacterium that is one of the most common causes of food borne illness.

Previous studies have also suggested that C. perfringens, in particular, epsilon toxin, may play a role in triggering MS.

Dr. Linden and her colleagues discovered C. perfringens type B, a strain that is not known to infect humans and produces the epsilon toxin in a 21-year-old woman who was experiencing a flare-up of her MS.

Studying the behavior of the toxin in mice focusing on which cells it targeted, Linden and her colleagues discovered that the toxin did target the brain cells associated with MS pathology, but that was not all they found.

"Originally, we only thought that epsilon toxin would target the brain endothelium cells and oligodendrocytes; we just happened to notice that it also bound to and killed meningeal cells (of neurons).

"This was exciting because it provides a possible explanation for meningeal inflammation and subpial cortical lesions exclusively observed in MS patients, but not fully understood.'

Testing local foods for the presence of C. perfringens and the toxin gene, off the 37 food samples, 13.5 percent were positive for bacteria and almost three per cent were positive for the epsilon toxin gene.

The development of a neutralizing antibody or vaccine directed against the epsilon toxin might stop the progression of the disease or prevent it from even developing, Linden added.

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