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Peptide immunotherapy in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 206-214
JournalBiomedical Journal
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jun 2015


We now have potent drugs available to treat the inflammatory component of multiple sclerosis (MS). However, not all patients respond, the drugs are not curative, and the associated risks to beneficial immune surveillance are considerable. A more desirable approach is to specifically target those comparatively rare T lymphocytes that are orchestrating the autoimmune attack. Using the autoantigen itself to instill immune tolerance in those cells remains a holy grail of immunotherapy. Peptide immunotherapy (PIT) is highly effective at silencing autoimmune responses in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), and clinical trials of PIT are underway in MS. This review discusses the current paradigms for PIT-induced tolerance in naïve T cells. It highlights the need for better understanding of the mode of action of PIT upon memory and effector T cells that are responsible for driving/sustaining ongoing autoimmune pathology. Recent studies in EAEsuggest genetic and epigenetic changes in these pathogenic T-cell populations in response to PIT. Finally, future challenges to effective translation of PIT to the clinic are considered.

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