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Neuron. 2009 Oct 15;64(1):123-32. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2009.09.015.

Innate and adaptive autoimmunity directed to the central nervous system.

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Beckman Center for Molecular Medicine, B002, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305, USA.

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  • Neuron. 2009 Nov 25;64(4):590.
  • Neuron. 2009 Oct 29;64(2):292.


The immune system has two major components, an innate arm and an adaptive arm. Certain autoimmune diseases of the brain represent examples of disorders where one of these constituents plays a major role. Some rare autoimmune diseases involve activation of the innate arm and include chronic infantile neurologic, cutaneous, articular (CINCA) syndrome. In contrast, adaptive immunity is prominent in multiple sclerosis, neuromyelitis optica, and the paraneoplastic syndromes where highly specific T cell responses and antibodies mediate these diseases. Studies of autoimmune brain disorders have aided in the elucidation of distinct neuronal roles played by key molecules already well known to immunologists (e.g., complement and components of the major histocompatibility complex). In parallel, molecules known to neurobiology and sensory physiology, including toll-like receptors, gamma amino butyric acid and the lens protein alpha B crystallin, have intriguing and distinct functions in the immune system, where they modulate autoimmunity directed to the brain.

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