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October 2009

Immunotherapy for Multiple Sclerosis: The Curious Case of Interferon Beta

Arch Neurol. 2009;66(10):1193-1194. doi:10.1001/archneurol.2009.200

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common acquired inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system in humans. A histopathological hallmark of early MS is the presence of inflammatory cellular infiltrates in actively demyelinating lesions. Most of these cells are macrophages that arise from infiltrating monocytes and microglia and the remaining 10% are T lymphocytes.1 Similar infiltrates cannot be detected in healthy central nervous system tissue. Based on this observation, it has long been considered a therapeutic goal to keep immune-competent cells out of the brains and spinal cords of patients with MS.