Introduction: Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is a chronic, inflammatory, neurodegenerative demyelinating
disease of the central nervous system (CNS). Unfortunately, MS causes important disability
in young adults and its prevalence is increasing. While the etiology of MS etiology is not completely
understood, it seems to be a multifactorial entity that is influenced by both genetic and epigenetic
modifications. Epigenetic mechanisms add or remove different chemical groups for the activation
or inhibition of gene expression to block the production of proinflammatory proteins. It is truly
important to identify the factors that can trigger epigenetic changes in MS to complement the therapeutic
approach, prevent disability and improve patients quality of life. Here, we have conducted a review
of external factors that influence in MS and their epigenetic mechanisms. For example, hypomethylation
can promote changes in the myelin and subsequent autoimmune reactions. Therapeutic
tools can be used, including the histone deacetylase inhibitor Trichostatin A, which ameliorates demyelinating
diseases in rodents. However, drugs are not only the therapeutic option: recent studies
have also evaluated the therapeutic potential of several bioactive dietary components in neurodegeneration
and axonal dysfunction. Numerous food-derived molecules exert important metabolic actions.
These molecules include plant polyphenols such as catechins and isoflavones, Ω-3 and Ω-6 polyunsaturated
fatty acids, short-chain fatty acids, sulfur-containing compounds such as dally sulfide and
other compounds. Antioxidant and anti-inflammatory components in the diet involve transcription factors
as well. However, many external factors have shown to influence MS, although no specific epigenetic
mechanisms are known.
Conclusion: In this review, we gather both established and new evidences about the genetic, epigenetic
and environmental factors influencing MS and the dietary components that could modulate MS
relapse and progression.