Innate, innate-like and adaptive lymphocytes in the pathogenesis of MS and EAE.

Van Kaer L, Postoak JL, Wang C, Yang G, Wu L
Cell Mol Immunol. 2019 16 (6): 531-539

PMID: 30874627 · DOI:10.1038/s41423-019-0221-5

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a chronic inflammatory disease of the central nervous system (CNS) in which the immune system damages the protective insulation surrounding the nerve fibers that project from neurons. A hallmark of MS and its animal model, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), is autoimmunity against proteins of the myelin sheath. Most studies in this field have focused on the roles of CD4 T lymphocytes, which form part of the adaptive immune system as both mediators and regulators in disease pathogenesis. Consequently, the treatments for MS often target the inflammatory CD4 T-cell responses. However, many other lymphocyte subsets contribute to the pathophysiology of MS and EAE, and these subsets include CD8 T cells and B cells of the adaptive immune system, lymphocytes of the innate immune system such as natural killer cells, and subsets of innate-like T and B lymphocytes such as γδ T cells, natural killer T cells, and mucosal-associated invariant T cells. Several of these lymphocyte subsets can act as mediators of CNS inflammation, whereas others exhibit immunoregulatory functions in disease. Importantly, the efficacy of some MS treatments might be mediated in part by effects on lymphocytes other than CD4 T cells. Here we review the contributions of distinct subsets of lymphocytes on the pathogenesis of MS and EAE, with an emphasis on lymphocytes other than CD4 T cells. A better understanding of the distinct lymphocyte subsets that contribute to the pathophysiology of MS and its experimental models will inform the development of novel therapeutic approaches.

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