Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated disease of the central nervous system leading to demyelination and axonal/neuronal loss. Cumulating evidence points to a key role for CD8 T cells in this disabling disease. Oligoclonal CD8 T cells reside in demyelinating plaques where they are likely to contribute to tissue destruction. Histopathological analyses and compelling observations from animal models indicate that cytotoxic CD8 T cells target neural cell populations with the potential of causing lesions reminiscent of MS. However, CD8 T cell differentiation results in several subsets of effector CD8 T cells that could be differentially implicated in the mechanisms contributing to tissue damage. Moreover CD8 regulatory T cells arise as important populations involved in restoring immune homoeostasis and in maintaining immune privileged sites. Here we examine the current literature pertaining to the role of CD8 effector and regulatory T cell subsets in the pathogenesis of MS.
Copyright © 2011 Federation of European Biochemical Societies. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.