Microbial peptides and superantigens in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases of the central nervous system

Semin Immunol. 1998 Feb;10(1):57-67. doi: 10.1006/smim.1997.0105.


The mechanisms by which microbial peptide antigens and superantigens might initiate and perpetuate autoimmune responses against antigens of the central nervous system are discussed. A model will be proposed that includes the initial activation of naive T lymphocytes through T cell receptor-mediated recognition of microbial antigens presented by MHC class II molecules. This event might be followed by re-activation of autoreactive T cells by bacterial and viral superantigens. Both mechanisms could lead to acute and relapsing autoimmune disease.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / etiology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology*
  • Autoimmune Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Bacterial Proteins / immunology
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / etiology
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / immunology*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Fungal Proteins / immunology
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Peptides / immunology*
  • Superantigens / immunology*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Viral Proteins / immunology


  • Bacterial Proteins
  • Fungal Proteins
  • Peptides
  • Superantigens
  • Viral Proteins