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Controversies in Neurology
October 2004

Multiple Sclerosis Is Not an Autoimmune Disease

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliations: Division of Clinical Neurology, University of Glasgow, Scotland.



Arch Neurol. 2004;61(10):1610-1612. doi:10.1001/archneur.61.10.1610

Disease is very old and nothing about it has changed. It is we who change as we learn to recognize what was formerly imperceptible.—J. M. Charcot

The cause of multiple sclerosis (MS) and its pathogenesis are unknown, but 2 main theories have emerged: a viral cause and an autoimmune cause. In the past half century, however, research and therapy have been driven by the autoimmune hypothesis. We propose that MS is not an autoimmune disease but a genetically determined disorder characterized by metabolically dependent neurodegeneration.

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