Multiple sclerosis: an infectious syndrome involving Chlamydophila pneumoniae

Trends Microbiol. 2006 Nov;14(11):474-9. doi: 10.1016/j.tim.2006.09.002. Epub 2006 Sep 25.


The concept of autoimmune myelinopathy as the primary pathology in multiple sclerosis (MS) is problematic. Vasculitis is seen in the MS brain, both within lesions and in adjacent normal-appearing white matter. The first observation in acute relapse is the sudden, orderly death of oligodendrocytes; inflammatory removal of unsupported myelin seems to be a secondary process. An alternative explanation for these findings is that oligodendrocyte infection might trigger an inflammatory response. Many pathogens, including Chlamydophila (Chlamydia) pneumoniae, have been associated with MS. MS might be an infectious syndrome in which C. pneumoniae has a role in a subset of patients. Mechanisms by which such a cryptic infection could engender relapsing-remitting and, ultimately, progressive disease patterns are discussed.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Central Nervous System / immunology
  • Central Nervous System / microbiology
  • Central Nervous System / pathology
  • Chlamydia Infections / immunology
  • Chlamydia Infections / microbiology
  • Chlamydia Infections / pathology*
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae / growth & development*
  • Chlamydophila pneumoniae / immunology
  • Disease Progression
  • Humans
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / microbiology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology*
  • Syndrome