May 24, 2018 – Diet and Autoimmunity


Anchor lead: Could keeping the immune system under control be as simple as managing your diet? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Immune cells involved in multiple sclerosis rely on sugar to activate them, recent research by Michael Kornberg, a research fellow and neurologist at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, has shown. The common MS drug dimethylfumarate blocks this pathway, Kornberg says.

Kornberg: What I find exciting about the work is the idea that these energy pathways are viable targets to treat the disease, which might extend to dietary measures. I like to be very cautious about this because diet and any kind of disease has become a bit of a cottage industry, but the idea that energy metabolism is important in the way the immune system reacts suggests its very likely that different types of diets are going to have effects on the immune system, which we’re  beginning to understand but we don’t fully understand yet. :31

Kornberg notes that autoimmune diseases like MS may one day include diet as part of a management strategy, as well as other diseases where energy metabolism and the immune system are important, like cancer. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.