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Expert Rev Clin Immunol. 2006 Sep;2(5):705-16. doi: 10.1586/1744666X.2.5.705.

T-cell-based immunotherapy in multiple sclerosis: induction of regulatory immune networks by T-cell vaccination.

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Hasselt University, Biomedical Research Institute, Diepenbeek, Belgium.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the CNS with presumed autoimmune origin. Pathogenic autoimmune responses in MS are thought to be the result of a breakdown of self tolerance. Several mechanisms account for the natural state of immunological tolerance to self antigens, including clonal deletion of self-reactive T cells in the thymus. However, autoimmune T cells are also part of the normal T-cell repertoire, supporting the existence of peripheral regulatory mechanisms that keep these potentially pathogenic T cells under control. One such mechanism involves active suppression by regulatory T cells. It has been indicated that regulatory T cells do not function properly in autoimmune disease. Immunization with attenuated autoreactive T cells, T-cell vaccination, may enhance or restore the regulatory immune networks to specifically suppress autoreactive T cells, as shown in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, an animal model for MS. In the past decade, T-cell vaccination has been tested for MS in several clinical trials. This review summarizes these clinical trials and updates our current knowledge on the induction of regulatory immune networks by T cell vaccination.

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