Determining immune system suppression versus CNS protection for pharmacological interventions in autoimmune demyelination

Academic Article


  • A major hallmark of the autoimmune demyelinating disease multiple sclerosis (MS) is immune cell infiltration into the brain and spinal cord resulting in myelin destruction, which not only slows conduction of nerve impulses, but causes axonal injury resulting in motor and cognitive decline. Current treatments for MS focus on attenuating immune cell infiltration into the central nervous system (CNS). These treatments decrease the number of relapses, improving quality of life, but do not completely eliminate relapses so long-term disability is not improved. Therefore, therapeutic agents that protect the CNS are warranted. In both animal models as well as human patients with MS, T cell entry into the CNS is generally considered the initiating inflammatory event. In order to assess if a drug protects the CNS, any potential effects on immune cell infiltration or proliferation in the periphery must be ruled out. This protocol describes how to determine whether CNS protection observed after drug intervention is a consequence of attenuating CNS-infiltrating immune cells or blocking death of CNS cells during inflammatory insults. The ability to examine MS treatments that are protective to the CNS during inflammatory insults is highly critical for the advancement of therapeutic strategies since current treatments reduce, but do not completely eliminate, relapses (i.e., immune cell infiltration), leaving the CNS vulnerable to degeneration.
  • Published In

    Digital Object Identifier (doi)

    Author List

  • Evonuk KS; Moseley CE; Doyle RE; Weaver CT; DeSilva TM
  • Volume

  • 2016
  • Issue

  • 115