Researchers identify immune cells that contribute to the development of multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is characterized by the infiltration of the central nervous system (CNS) by immune cells.

A particular type of immune cell, Tc17, has been found in MS lesions in humans, but it is unclear what role these cells play in disease pathogenesis. In the Journal of Clinical Investigation, researchers led by Magdalena Huber at the University of Marburg in Germany used a mouse model of MS to determine the role of Tc17 cells.

They found that Tc17 cells help Th17 immune cells to invade the CNS by secreting the protein IL-17. Without Tc17 cells, the Th17 cells did not accumulate in the CNS, preventing the development of MS.

This study demonstrates that Tc17 cells help initiate MS by allowing immune cells to reach the CNS and suggests that therapies targeting Tc17 cells might be helpful in treating early MS.

TITLE: IL-17A secretion by CD8+ T cells supports Th17-mediated autoimmune encephalomyelitis