Purpose of review: Experimental models are indispensable in multiple sclerosis research aimed to elucidate the pathogenesis of the disease or to test new therapeutic approaches. The purpose of this review is to discuss the relevance of different models for multiple sclerosis and new insights into pathophysiology of the disease obtained from experimental studies.
Recent findings: These studies show that tissue damage in the course of brain inflammation is induced by a variety of different components of the immune system, including T cells, autoantibodies and activated effector cells, such as macrophages and microglia. In general, different mechanisms of tissue injury act in parallel and are partly counteracted by the induction of neuroprotective factors and spontaneous regenerative processes.
Summary: Despite this complexity, experimental studies identified bottlenecks in the destructive process, which can be targeted by therapeutic strategies. To what extent these results can be transferred into therapy of multiple sclerosis has to be shown in the future.