Remote control-triggering of brain autoimmune disease in the gut

Curr Opin Immunol. 2013 Dec;25(6):683-9. doi: 10.1016/j.coi.2013.09.009. Epub 2013 Oct 23.


Converging evidence indicates that multiple sclerosis, an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, is caused by brain-specific, self-reactive T lymphocytes. These are normal components embedded in the human immune system throughout healthy life. Only upon activation in the periphery, the T cells assume properties that enable them to break through the vascular blood-brain barrier and to invade the brain white matter. While activation has been traditionally associated with microbial infections, recently, studies of animal models revealed a critical role of the commensal gut flora as a key triggering factor. These findings may pave the way to new strategies to treat MS and other human autoimmune diseases, and commend a reevaluation of dietary approaches.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Brain Diseases / immunology*
  • Central Nervous System / immunology
  • Diet
  • Disease Models, Animal
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / immunology*
  • Gastrointestinal Tract / microbiology
  • Humans