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J Exp Med. 2001 Sep 3;194(5):669-76.

A pathogenic role for myelin-specific CD8(+) T cells in a model for multiple sclerosis.

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  • 1Department of Immunology, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195, USA.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS) characterized by plaques of infiltrating CD4(+) and CD8(+) T cells. Studies of MS and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of MS, focus on the contribution of CD4(+) myelin-specific T cells. The role of CD8(+) myelin-specific T cells in mediating EAE or MS has not been described previously. Here, we demonstrate that myelin-specific CD8(+) T cells induce severe CNS autoimmunity in mice. The pathology and clinical symptoms in CD8(+) T cell-mediated CNS autoimmunity demonstrate similarities to MS not seen in myelin-specific CD4(+) T cell-mediated EAE. These data suggest that myelin-specific CD8(+) T cells could function as effector cells in the pathogenesis of MS.

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