Antigen-specific therapies in multiple sclerosis: Going beyond proteins and peptides

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Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a complex immune-mediated disease resulting largely from an autoinimune attack against components of central nervous system myelin, including several proteins and lipids. Knowledge about the details of this anomalous immune response has come mostly from studies in the animal model experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). In this model, it has been possible to prevent and effectively treat established disease through several antigen-specific therapeutic strategies, which have included administration of whole myelin or myelin proteins by various routes, random copolymers consisting of the main major histocompatability complex (MHC) and T-cell receptor (TCR) contact amino acid residues, altered peptide ligands of dominant myelin epitopes in which one or more residues are selectively substituted, and lately DNA vaccination encoding self-myelin antigens. However, there have been difficulties in making successful transitions from animal models to human clinical trials, due either to lack of efficacy or unforeseen complications. Despite these problems, antigen-specific therapies have retained their attraction for clinicians and scientists alike, and hopefully the upcoming generation of agents-including altered peptide ligands and DNA vaccines-will benefit from the increasing knowledge about this disease and surmount existing difficulties to make an impact in the treatment of multiple sclerosis.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-446
JournalInternational Reviews Of Immunology
Issue number5-6
Publication statusPublished - 2005


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