Ann Neurol 2003 Mar;53(3):292-304
Kerschensteiner M, Stadelmann C, Dechant G, Wekerle H, Hohlfeld R.
Brain Research Institute, University of Zurich and Department of Biology, ETH Zurich, Switzerland.
Inflammatory reactions in the central nervous system usually are considered detrimental, but recent evidence suggests that they also can be beneficial and even have neuroprotective effects.
Intriguingly, immune cells can produce various neurotrophic factors of various molecular families.
The concept of "neuroprotective immunity" will have profound consequences for the pathogenesis and treatment of neuroinflammatory diseases such as multiple sclerosis.
It also will prove important for neurodegenerative disorders, in which inflammatory reactions often occur.
This review focuses on recent findings that immune cells produce brain-derived neurotrophic factor in multiple sclerosis lesions, whereas neurons and astrocytes express the appropriate tyrosine kinase receptor TrkB.
Together with functional evidence for the neuroprotective effects of immune cells, these observations support the concept of "neuroprotective immunity."
We next examine current and future therapeutic strategies for multiple sclerosis and experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis in light of neuroprotective immunity and finally address the broader implications of this new concept for other neuroinflammatory and neurodegenerative diseases.