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Autoimmun Rev. 2005 Sep;4(7):460-7.

The role of the humoral immune system in multiple sclerosis (MS) and its animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE).

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  • 1Neuroimmunological Lab, Department of Neurology, Neurological University Clinic Dresden Carl Gustav Carus, Fetscherstr. 74, D-01307 Dresden, Germany. Ziemssen@web.de


The pathogenic events in multiple sclerosis (MS) that result in immune cell infiltration, multifocal demyelination and axonal loss have been focused by the strong impact of the classical MS model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) towards the hypothesis that MS is an entirely T cell-mediated disease. Although conspicuous humoral immune responses have been known since Kabal's seminal finding of elevated immunoglobulins (Igs) in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), only in the past few years evidence derived from recent studies of the MS lesion of anti-myelin antibodies (Abs) in patients with early MS and of MS animal models has led to a renewed interest in the role for B cells, plasma cells and their products in the pathogenesis of MS. This review surveys the actual data concerning the role of the humoral immune system in MS and EAE and explains potential modes of action and long-time persistence in the inflamed brain tissue as a B cell-supportive microenvironment in MS. These mechanisms include the modulation of antigen presentation and costimulation to T cells, increased myelin opsonisation und recruitment of inflammatory cells to the CNS, but also immunoregulatory influences on the remyelination by anti-myelin B cells and Abs. So, affecting the humoral immune system in MS would be a reasonable therapeutic option.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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