You wrote "Given that the risk factors for MS in humans are female gender, Vit D deficiency, infection with EBV, smoking, month of birth, how does the mouse model reflect these factors?
However let's look at the risk factors you mention
Animal studies can clearly link the differences in susceptibility to autoimmunity to the action of sex hormones. In many cases a female to male preponderance to susceptibility can be found, in some cases male mice may be more susceptible. Likewise males mice may develop worse progression when they develop disease, just as can occur in MS.
My old boss was working in New York, but when he came back to London he couldn't get the experiment to work. Turned out the answer was vitamins and so every week the animals used to get cabbage...they loved it....and the experiments started to work. Likewise we can show how vitamin D influences the immune response in mice.
"Just so you know there are no places in the United Kingdom that undertakes studies in monkeys in relation to MS".
Smoking. Fortunately animals don't smoke. However, because smoking is considered a social evil, alot is known about smoking and risks of disease. I suspect we willl soon be collecting information on booze, TV and online gambling, mobile phones and computers
"We all know that ice cream consumption goes up when it is hot outside! It is hot outside because the sun is out! The suns gives off ultraviolet radiation that induces a sun tan! Ultraviolet radiation can induce damage to DNA! DNA breaks can lead to influences on dividing cells! Uncontrolled division of cells can give rise to give cancer! Therefore ice cream causes cancer?"
Well the simple answer is there is much to learn. Some answers we can seek through using animals, other aspects are much better done in humans.
I am sure Prof. G will keep you all informed about risk factors
The point of all of the above is that we start with the examing the human disease. We only use animals to address simple questions that help us to better understand the human condition, when we can not get the information from studying the disease.