Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) infection and experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE) are considered among the best models of human multiple sclerosis (MS). In both models, clinical disease is characterized by paralysis, while pathological changes consist of inflammatory demyelination. In both models there is a genetic influence on susceptibility/resistance to the development of disease. This has been thoroughly studied in TMEV infection, and it has been found to depend on both major histocompatibility complex (MHC) and non‐MHC genes. At least four genes have been so far identified. Because of this genetic influence, some strains of mice are more susceptible to both clinical and pathological changes than others, and susceptibility appears to best correlate with the ability of a certain murine strain to develop a delayed‐type hypersensitivity (DTH) response to viral antigens. We have also observed that even among mice which are equally susceptible clinically, striking differences may be seen under pathological examination. These consist of different gradients of severity of inflammation, particularly in regards to the macrophage component. There is an inverse relationship between the number of macrophages, and their length of stay in the CNS, and the ability of mice to remyelinate their lesions. The most severe lesions are in SJL/J mice, and remyelination in this strain is extremely poor. The least severe lesions in terms of macrophage invasion are in strains such as NZW and RIIIS/J, and these are able to remyelinate lesions very successfully. Murine chronic relapsing EAE (CR‐EAE) shows pathological changes in many ways similar to those in TMEV‐infected SJL/J mice, although less severe in terms of degrees of macrophage infiltration and tissue destruction. Mice with CR‐EAE have a correspondingly limited ability to remyelinate their lesions. In both models the pathology appears to be mediated through a DTH response. However, while in EAE the DTH response is clearly against neuroantigens, the response in TMEV infection is against the virus itself. The end result in both models would be that of myelin destruction through a lymphotoxincytokine‐mediated mechanism. The importance of the DTH response in both models is well illustrated by the effects of tolerance induction in EAE and TMEV infection to neuroantigens and virus, respectively. These are important models of human MS, since the current hypothesis is that a viral infection early in life, on the appropriate genetic background, may trigger a secondary misdirected immune response which could be directed either against myelin antigens and/or possible persistent virus(es). © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.
- Multiple sclerosis
- Schwann cell
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Medical Laboratory Technology