Pathogenesis of immune-mediated demyelination in the CNS

  • H.-P. Hartung
  • P. Rieckmann
Part of the Journal of Neural Transmission. Supplementa book series (NEURAL SUPPL, volume 50)


Collective evidence from studies in the animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis and pathological and immunological studies on MS patients suggest that this most common inflammatory demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system results from primarily T-lymphocyte driven aberrant immune responses to a number of myelin and possibly non-myelin antigens. These include MBP, PLP, MOG, MAG, CNP and S 100. Autoreactive T-cells reactive with these antigens circulate in blood and upon activation can travel across the blood-brain-barrier to initiate a local immunoflammatory response provided they encounter a microglial cell that displays antigenic epitopes in the context of MHC class II gene products and accessory molecules. Demyelination probably results from antibody-induced complement activation. Repeated inflammatory episodes eventually exhaust the reparative capacities of oligodendrocytes and damage axons. As the disease evolves, an initialy focussed immune response may diversify due to a process termed epitope spreading. The initial event of T lymphocyte activation remains elusive, but molecular mimicry, cross-recognition of structures shared between microbes and myelin, appears to be crucial.


Multiple Sclerosis Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis Myelin Basic Protein Experimental Allergic Encephalomyelitis Multiple Sclerosis Lesion 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Wien 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • H.-P. Hartung
    • 1
  • P. Rieckmann
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of NeurologyJulius-Maximilians-UniversitätWürzburgGermany

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