Immunopathogenesis and immunotherapy of multiple sclerosis

Nat Clin Pract Neurol. 2006 Apr;2(4):201-11. doi: 10.1038/ncpneuro0154.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic disease of the CNS that is characterized by inflammation, demyelination and axonal injury. Although the etiology of MS is still unknown, many findings point toward a central role for the immune system in the pathogenesis of the disease. This hypothesis is strongly supported by the beneficial effects of immunomodulatory and immunosuppressive therapy on disease activity. Over the past few years, substantial progress has been made in deciphering the immune response in MS. Although animal models have advanced our knowledge of basic mechanisms of immune responses in the CNS, recent studies have also highlighted the differences between MS and its animal equivalent, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. New immunotherapeutic agents have been developed and evaluated in clinical trials. Here, we review current knowledge of the immunopathogenesis of MS and corresponding animal models of disease, and discuss new immunointerventional treatment strategies based on changing pathogenetic concepts.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Humans
  • Immune System / immunology
  • Immunotherapy / methods*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / therapy*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*