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Annu Rev Neurosci. 2008;31:247-69. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.30.051606.094313.

Multiple sclerosis: an immune or neurodegenerative disorder?

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Department of Neurosciences, Lerner Research Institute, Cleveland Clinic, Cleveland, Ohio 44195, USA.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory-mediated demyelinating disease of the human central nervous system. The clinical disease course is variable, usually starts with reversible episodes of neurological disability in the third or fourth decade of life, and transforms into a disease of continuous and irreversible neurological decline by the sixth or seventh decade. We review data that support neurodegeneration as the major cause of irreversible neurological disability in MS patients. We question whether inflammatory demyelination is primary or secondary in the disease process and discuss the challenges of elucidating the cause of MS and developing therapies that will delay or prevent the irreversible and progressive neurological decline that most MS patients endure.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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