Effector t cells in multiple sclerosis

Belinda J. Kaskow, Clare Baecher-Allan

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171 Citations (Scopus)


Multiple sclerosis (MS) has long been considered a CD4 T-cell disease, primarily because of the findings that the strongest genetic risk for MS is the major histocompatibility complex (MHC) class II locus, and that T cells play a central role in directing the immune response. The importance that the T helper (Th)1 cytokine, interferon γ (IFN-γ), and the Th17 cytokine, interleukin (IL)-17, play in MS pathogenesis is indicated by recent clinical trial data by the enhanced presence of Th1/Th17 cells in central nervous system (CNS) tissue, cerebrospinal fluid (CSF), and blood, and by research on animal models of MS, such as experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Although the majority of research on MS pathogenesis has centered on the role of effector CD4 T cells, accumulating data suggests that CD8 T cells may play a significant role in the human disease. In fact, in contrast to most animal models, the primary T cell found in the CNS in patients with MS, is the CD8 T cell. As patient-derived effector T cells are also resistant to mechanisms of dominant tolerance such as that induced by interaction with regulatory T cells (Tregs), their reduced response to regulation may also contribute to the unchecked effector T-cell activity in patients with MS. These concepts will be discussed below.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbera029025
JournalCold Spring Harbor Perspectives in Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


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