The origin and application of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

Nat Rev Immunol. 2007 Nov;7(11):904-12. doi: 10.1038/nri2190.


Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) is a model of the neuroimmune system responding to priming with central nervous system (CNS)-restricted antigens. It is an excellent model of post-vaccinal encephalitis and a useful model of many aspects of multiple sclerosis. EAE has been established in numerous species and is induced by priming with a large number of CNS-derived antigens. As a consequence, the pathogenesis, pathology and clinical signs vary significantly between experimental protocols. As I describe in this Timeline article, the reductionist approach taken in some lines of investigation of EAE resulted in a reliance on results obtained under a narrow range of conditions. Although such studies made important contributions to our molecular understanding of inflammation, T-cell activation, and MHC restriction, they did not advance as effectively our knowledge of the polyantigenic responses that usually occur in CNS immunopathology and autoimmunity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Allergy and Immunology / trends*
  • Animals
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / chemically induced
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / drug therapy
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / immunology*
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental / pathology
  • Humans