Get access

Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis – achievements and prospective advances


Stefanie Kuerten, Department of Anatomy I, University of Cologne, Joseph-Stelzmann-Str. 9, 50931 Cologne, Germany. e-mail:


Batoulis H, Recks MS, Addicks K, Kuerten S. Experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis – achievements and prospective advances. APMIS 2011; 119: 819–30.

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disorder of the CNS. Different subtypes of the disease have been noted, and characterized by distinct clinical courses and histopathologic manifestations. The most intensively studied animal model of MS, experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), classically leads to deficits in motor functions, and is mediated by T helper cells. Recently, TH17 cells were ascribed an even greater pathogenic impact than TH1 cells, but new findings render this view controversial. Although classic EAE has been an invaluable tool, it does not cover the entire pathogenic entity of MS. Especially B-cell contribution and autoantibody-dependence are not mirrored adequately: therefore, new B-cell-dependent models, such as MP4-induced EAE, have been introduced. Furthermore, certain symptoms and the spontaneous onset of MS are not featured in classic EAE. Herein, atypical and spontaneous EAE models can be used for investigation of common symptoms, such as tremor and ataxia, as well as spontaneous disease development. MS displays a marked inter-individual heterogeneity, and no single model will be able to cover all features. Thus, depending on the objective of one’s study, the appropriate EAE model has to be carefully chosen. In addition, refined models should be designed to gain a more complete understanding of MS.