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J Clin Med. 2019 Jan 19;8(1). pii: E120. doi: 10.3390/jcm8010120.

The Diversity of Encephalitogenic CD4+ T Cells in Multiple Sclerosis and Its Animal Models.

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Holtom-Garrett Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109, USA.
Neurology Service, Ann Arbor VA Healthcare System, Ann Arbor, MI 48105, USA.


Autoreactive CD4+ T cells, which target antigens in central nervous system (CNS) myelin, are widely believed to play a critical role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) in concert with other immune effectors. This theory is supported by data from animal model experiments, genome-wide association studies, and immune profiles of individuals with MS. Furthermore, disease modifying agents that target lymphocytes significantly reduce the rate of MS clinical exacerbations. However, the properties of myelin-reactive CD4+ T cells that are critical for their pathogenic activities are not understood completely. This article reviews the literature on encephalitogenic CD4+ T cells, with an emphasis on T-helper (Th) lineage and cytokine production. An increased understanding of the spectrum of encephalitogenic T cells and how they differ from protective subsets is necessary for the development of the next generation of more effective and safer immunomodulatory therapies customized for individuals with MS and related disorders.


Multiple Sclerosis; T-helper cells; cytokines; experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

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