The role of integrins in immune-mediated diseases of the nervous system

Trends Neurosci. 1999 Jan;22(1):30-8. doi: 10.1016/s0166-2236(98)01287-9.


Immune-mediated diseases of the CNS and PNS, such as multiple sclerosis and Guillain-Barré syndrome, respectively, constitute a major cause of transient and permanent neurological disability in the adult. The aetiology and pathogenesis of these disorders are only partially understood. On a cellular level, focal mononuclear-cell infiltration with demyelination and eventual axonal loss is a crucial pathogenetic event that leads to inflammation and subsequent dysfunction. Here, the evidence that integrins, a family of cell adhesion molecules, expressed on neural and immune cells might play a central role in immune cell recruitment to the CNS and PNS, and probably in tissue repair is reviewed. Distinct integrin expression patterns are observed in multiple sclerosis and Guillain-Barré syndrome. Therapeutic targeting of integrins has been very successful in the corresponding animal models and holds promise as a novel treatment strategy to combat human immune-mediated disorders of the nervous system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Immune System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Integrins / physiology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Neuritis / physiopathology
  • Polyradiculoneuropathy / physiopathology


  • Integrins