The autoimmune response that is involved in multiple sclerosis (MS) was once thought to be confined to the brain. Yale researchers, however, have uncovered evidence that this damaging response may begin in the lymph nodes.
The finding, reported in the issue of journal Science Translational Medicine, tracks the origin of the autoimmune response in the lymph nodes and later its arrival in the brain, where it contributes to tissue damage that results in numbness, loss of vision, and debilitating fatigue.
"This helps explain why treatments that work outside the central nervous system can ease MS symptoms and may give us clues how to develop even more effective treatments," said neuroimmunologist Kevin O'Connor, one of the senior authors of the paper.
B cells populating the multiple sclerosis brain mature in the draining cervical lymph nodes, Sci Transl Med 6 August 2014: Vol. 6, Issue 248, p. 248ra107 Sci. Transl. Med. DOI: 10.1126/scitranslmed.3008879