Animal models of multiple sclerosis

Methods Mol Biol. 2009;549:157-73. doi: 10.1007/978-1-60327-931-4_11.


Since its first description, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, originally designated experimental allergic encephalitis (EAE), has been proposed as animal model to investigate pathogenetic hypotheses and test new treatments in the field of central nervous system inflammation and demyelination, which has become, in the last 30 years, the most popular animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS). This experimental disease can be obtained in all mammals tested so far, including nonhuman primates, allowing very advanced preclinical studies. Its appropriate use has led to the development of the most recent treatments approved for MS, also demonstrating its predictive value when properly handled. Some of the most exciting experiments validating the use of neural precursor cells (NPCs) as a potential therapeutic option in CNS inflammation have been performed in this model. We review here the most relevant immunological features of EAE in the different animal species and strains, and describe detailed protocols to obtain the three most common clinical courses of EAE in mice, with the hope to provide both cultural and practical basis for the use of this fascinating animal model.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigens / administration & dosage
  • Antigens / immunology
  • Callithrix
  • Disease Models, Animal*
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental* / immunology
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental* / pathology
  • Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental* / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / immunology
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / pathology
  • Multiple Sclerosis* / physiopathology


  • Antigens