Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences

, Volume 68, Issue 3, pp 407–416 | Cite as

Janus head: the dual role of HLA-G in CNS immunity

  • Yu-Hwa Huang
  • Laura Airas
  • Nicholas Schwab
  • Heinz WiendlEmail author
Multi-Author Review


The central nervous system (CNS) is considered an immune-privileged organ that maintains an adaptable immune surveillance system. Dysregulated immune function within the CNS contributes to the development of brain tumor growth, and robust immune activation results in excessive inflammation. Human lymphocyte antigen-G (HLA-G) proteins with tolerogenic immunoreactivity have been implicated in various pathophysiological processes including immune surveillance, governing homeostasis and immune regulation. In this review, we describe the wealth of evidence for the involvement of HLA-G in the CNS under physiological and pathological conditions. Further, we review regulatory functions that may be applicable as beneficial strategies in the therapeutic manipulation of immune-mediated CNS immune responses. Additionally, we try to understand how this molecule cooperates with other CNS-resident cells to maintain normal immune homeostasis, while still facilitating the development of the appropriate immune responses.


Multiple sclerosis Central nervous system Human lymphocyte antigen-G Immune surveillance Blood–brain barrier Immune tolerance 



This work was supported by grants from the German Research Foundation (DFG, Wi 1722/6-1 to H.W.) and the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF, “German Competence Network of MS” (KKNMS), UNDERSTANDMS, 01GI0907, to H.W.).


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Copyright information

© Springer Basel AG 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yu-Hwa Huang
    • 1
  • Laura Airas
    • 2
  • Nicholas Schwab
    • 1
  • Heinz Wiendl
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Neurology, Inflammatory Disorders of the Nervous System and NeurooncologyUniversity of MüensterMüensterGermany
  2. 2.Department of Neurology, MediCity Research LaboratoryTurku University HospitalTurkuFinland

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