S D J Med 2002 Nov;55(11):477-81
Hanson LJ, Cafruny WA.
USD School of Medicine, Vermillion, SD, USA.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex and challenging autoimmune disease of the central nervous system, affecting approximately 0.1% of the US population.
Evidence to date suggests that viral infection triggers autoimmune attack against nerve cells in genetically-susceptible individuals.
Neurologic deficits then appear, typically with a variable course and episodes of remission.
Partial treatment success has been obtained with immunomodulating agents, such as interferon-beta and intravenous immunoglobulins.
Current research is directed at elucidating potential viral causes of MS, as well as the interaction of host genes with the immunopathogenic mechanisms involved in MS.
In the future, it may be possible to vaccinate susceptible individuals against MS, as well as refine immunomodulation therapy for the treatment of MS.