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Antigen-specific therapies in multiple sclerosis

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Author: Noort, J.M. van
Type:article
Date:1998
Institution: TNO Preventie en Gezondheid
Source:Biotherapy, 3, 10, 237-250
Identifier: 234438
Keywords: Health · Antigen-specific theraphy · Autoimmunity · Multiple sclerosis · Adult · Animals · Antigens · Autoantigens · Encephalomyelitis, Autoimmune, Experimental · Humans · Immune Tolerance · Immunotherapy · Lymphocyte Activation · Major Histocompatibility Complex · Models, Biological · Multiple Sclerosis · Myelin Proteins · T-Lymphocytes

Abstract

Multiple sclerosis is the major neurological disease of young adults in the western world, affecting about 1 per 1,000. It is characterised by chronic or recurrent lesions of inflammatory damage in the white matter of the central nervous system. Within such lesions, the protective myelin sheath is stripped off axons by infiltrated macrophages which leads to impaired conductivity. The inflammatory process most likely starts by activation of helper T cells directed against local myelin antigens. Currently, efforts are directed at specifically blocking such myelin-reactive helper T cells in order to control the disease. In this chapter, immunological features of multiple sclerosis and the experimental animal model for the disease, experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, are discussed. Next, an overview is presented on myelin antigens that have been suggested to play a role as target antigens in MS. Finally, strategics are discussed that arc currently employed to selectively block the activation of T-cells reactive against myclin antigens.