Immunol Res. 2003; 28(3): 201-21
Seamons A, Perchellet A, Goverman J.
Department of Genome Sciences, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98125, USA.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disorder of the central nervous system.
It is believed to be an autoimmune disease arising from a breakdown of immune tolerance in T cells specific for myelin antigens.
The heterogeneity in clinical signs and pathology observed in MS patients suggests a complex pathogenesis in which the specificity of the pathogenic T cells and the tolerance mechanisms that are compromised vary among individual patients.
In this review, we summarize some of the features of the diverse immune pathology observed in MS and the animal models used to study this disease.
We then describe the current state of knowledge regarding the expression of the major myelin protein antigens believed to be targeted in MS and the mechanisms of immune tolerance that operate on T cells that recognize these antigens.