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J Clin Immunol. 2001 Mar;21(2):81-92.

The neuroimmunology of multiple sclerosis: possible roles of T and B lymphocytes in immunopathogenesis.

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Harvard Medical School, Laboratory of Molecular Immunology, Center for Neurologic Diseases, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, Massachusetts 02115, USA.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory disease of the central nervous system white matter. The association of the disease with MHC genes, the inflammatory white matter infiltrates, similarities with animal models, and the observation that MS can be treated with immunomodulatory and immunosuppressive therapies support the hypothesis that autoimmunity plays a major role in the disease pathology. Evidence supports activated CD4+ myelin-reactive T cells as major mediators of the disease. In addition, a renewed interest in the possible contribution of B cells to MS immunopathology has been sparked by nonhuman primate and MS pathological studies. This review focuses on the immunopathology of MS, outlining the hypothetical steps of tolerance breakdown and the molecules that play a role in the migration of autoreactive cells to the CNS. Particular focus is given to autoreactive T cells and cytokines as well as B cells and autoantibodies and their role in CNS pathogenesis in MS.

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