Multiple sclerosis: new insights in pathogenesis and novel therapeutics

Annu Rev Med. 2012;63:389-404. doi: 10.1146/annurev-med-042910-135833. Epub 2011 Sep 1.


Concepts of multiple sclerosis (MS) have shifted from the traditional view of a T cell-mediated, demyelinating disease of the white matter to include a broad range of immunopathogenic mechanisms, axonal damage, and widespread gray matter pathology. The cause of MS remains unknown, but recent epidemiological work has focused on genetic factors; environmental factors such as vitamin D, sunlight, and Epstein-Barr virus; and the controversial theory of chronic cerebrospinal venous insufficiency. Revised criteria facilitate making the diagnosis of MS. Emerging therapies are rapidly expanding treatment options, including both parenterally administered and oral medications. Strategies to preserve tissue, promote repair, and restore function are under development, and it is anticipated that they will provide better options for patients with progressive disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Immunologic Factors / therapeutic use*
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / etiology*
  • Neuroprotective Agents / therapeutic use*


  • Immunologic Factors
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Neuroprotective Agents