Neuroimmune Interactions in a Model of Multiple Sclerosis

Authors


Address for correspondence: C. Jane Welsh, Department of Veterinary Integrative Biosciences, College of Veterinary Medicine and Biomedical Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station, TX 77843-4458. Voice: 979-862-4974; fax: 979-845-9972. jwelsh@cvm.tamu.edu

Abstract

Psychological stress has been implicated in both the onset and exacerbation of multiple sclerosis (MS). Our research has focused on the role of stress at the onset of MS, using the mouse model Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus-induced demyelination. Theiler's virus is a natural pathogen of mice that causes a persistent infection of the central nervous system (CNS) and inflammatory immune-mediated demyelination that is very similar to MS. Our research has shown that restraint stress sufficiently increases corticosterone secretion to cause immunosuppression. Stressed mice develop decreased innate and adaptive immune responses, including decreased chemokine and cytokine responses, to virus, which leads to increased viral replication within the CNS. Higher levels of virus then cause increased later demyelinating disease. These findings may have important implications in our understanding of the interactions between stress and the development of autoimmune diseases induced by infectious agents.

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