Editors' ChoiceImmunology

Rethinking myelin-reactive T cells in multiple sclerosis

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Sci. Signal.  19 May 2015:
Vol. 8, Issue 377, pp. ec131
DOI: 10.1126/scisignal.aac5785

In patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), the ability of nerves to carry messages is disrupted because of damage to their insulating cover—the myelin sheath. This damage is thought to be caused by the body’s own immune cells; however, myelin-reactive immune cells are found in comparable numbers in MS patients and healthy controls. Cao et al. report that myelin-reactive T cells from MS patients are functionally different than those from healthy controls; cells from MS patients are more proinflammatory, whereas cells from controls secrete more of the immunoregulatory cytokine interleukin-10. Furthermore, the myelin-reactive T cells from the MS patients exhibited a distinct pathogenic gene expression profile and share a similar transcriptomic profile to pathological T cells isolated from mice with experimental autoimmune encephalitis. These data suggest that functional differences in these cells may contribute to the development of disease.

Y. Cao, B. A. Goods, K. Raddassi, G. T. Nepom, W. W. Kwok, J. C. Love, D. A. Hafler, Functional inflammatory profiles distinguish myelin-reactive T cells from patients with multiple sclerosis. Sci. Transl. Med. 7, 287ra74 (2015). [Abstract]