Triggers of multiple sclerosis (MS) relapses are essentially unknown. PM10 exposure has recently been associated with an increased risk of relapses.Objectives
We further explore the short-term associations between PM10, NO2, benzene (C6H6), O3, and CO exposures, and the odds of MS relapses’ occurrence.Methods
Using a case-crossover design, we studied 424 MS patients living in the Strasbourg area, France between 2000 and 2009 (1783 relapses in total). Control days were chosen to be ± 35 days relative to the case (relapse) day. Exposure was modeled through ADMS-Urban software at the census block scale. We consider single-pollutant and multi-pollutant conditional logistic regression models coupled with a distributed-lag linear structure, stratified by season ("hot" vs. "cold"), and adjusted for meteorological parameters, pollen count, influenza-like epidemics, and holidays.Results
The single-pollutant analyses indicated: 1) significant associations between MS relapse incidence and exposures to NO2, PM10, and O3, and 2) seasonality in these associations. For instance, an interquartile range increase in NO2 (lags 0–3) and PM10 exposure were associated with MS relapse incidence (OR = 1.08; 95%CI: [1.03–1.14] and OR = 1.06; 95%CI: [1.01–1.11], respectively) during the "cold" season (i.e., October-March). We also observed an association with O3 and MS relapse incidence during "hot" season (OR = 1.16; 95%CI: [1.07–1.25]). C6H6 and CO were not significantly related to MS relapse incidence. However, using multi-pollutant models, only O3 remained significantly associated with the odds of relapse triggering during "hot" season.Conclusion
We observed significant single-pollution associations between the occurrence of MS relapses and exposures to NO2, O3 and PM10, only O3 remained significantly associated with occurrence of MS relapses in the multi-pollutant model.