Autoimmune T cell responses in the central nervous system

Nat Rev Immunol. 2009 Jun;9(6):393-407. doi: 10.1038/nri2550.


Autoreactive T cell responses have a crucial role in central nervous system (CNS) diseases such as multiple sclerosis. Recent data indicate that CNS autoimmunity can be mediated by two distinct lineages of CD4+ T cells that are defined by the production of either interferon-gamma or interleukin-17. The activity of these CD4+ T cell subsets within the CNS influences the pathology and clinical course of disease. New animal models show that myelin-specific CD8+ T cells can also mediate CNS autoimmunity. This Review focuses on recent progress in delineating the pathogenic mechanisms, regulation and interplay between these different T cell subsets in CNS autoimmunity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / immunology
  • Antigen-Presenting Cells / metabolism
  • Autoimmunity / immunology*
  • B-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • B-Lymphocytes / metabolism
  • Central Nervous System / immunology*
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism
  • Interleukin-17 / immunology
  • Interleukin-17 / metabolism
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology*
  • Myelin Sheath / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology*


  • Interleukin-17
  • Interferon-gamma