Rare, dual-receptor T-cells may be at the root of multiple sclerosis, according to an article published online today (June 6th) in __Nature Immunology,__ providing a possible explanation for other autoimmune diseases.
Spinal MRI showing multiple sclerosis
Image: National Institutes of Health
"It has been thought for a while that these dual receptor T-cells are involved in autoimmunity," said Nitin Karandikar from The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who was not involved in the study. "This [study] is the first formal proof of that." In multiple sclerosis, T-cells attack the myelin covering nerve cells in the central nervous system, slowing the transmission of signals between nerve cells, and leading to cognitive and physical decline. Scientists believe that the disease is caused by several factors. First, genetic mutations that predispose an individual's immune system to attack its own tissue are likely to play a role. The disease is also thought to...
J. Qingyong et al., "Viral infection triggers central nervous system autoimmunity via activation of CD8+ T cells expressing dual TCRs," __Nature Immunology,__ published online June 6th, 2010, Doi:10.1038/ni.1888

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