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Characterization of CD8+ T lymphocytes in multiple sclerosis and study of their potential involvement in the mechanism of molecular mimicry

English title Characterization of CD8+ T lymphocytes in multiple sclerosis and study of their potential involvement in the mechanism of molecular mimicry
Applicant Du Pasquier Renaud
Number 106716
Funding scheme SNSF Professorships
Research institution Service d’Immunologie et d’Allergie Département de Médecine Interne CHUV
Institution of higher education University of Lausanne - LA
Main discipline Neurology, Psychiatry
Start/End 01.05.2005 - 30.04.2009
Approved amount 1'261'157.00
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All Disciplines (2)

Neurology, Psychiatry
Immunology, Immunopathology

Keywords (9)

Multiple sclerosis; CD8+ T lymphocytes; Epstein-Barr virus; Cytomegalovirus; JC virus; myelin proteins; cellular immune response; viruses; myelin

Lay Summary (English)

Lay summary
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is the most common human demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS). “Demyelinating” means that it affects the myelin, an envelope that sheaths the nerves in the brain, protect them and allows the electrical conduction to travel fast along them nerves. What triggers MS is still unknown. It is thought that both genetic and environmental factors, including viral infections, contribute to the manifestation and the progression of the disease. Different mechanisms have been proposed to support the hypothesis of an infection-induced autoimmune disease. One of the leading hypotheses is that within a genetically susceptible host immune system, the encounter of self-reactive cells with an infectious agent, such as viral peptides, will activate these cells. This cross-recognition represents the phenomenon of “molecular mimicry”. If viruses are responsible for triggering MS, it is reasonable to assume that, as a consequence, CD8+ T lymphocytes might play an important role in the pathogenesis of this disease. Indeed, CD8+ T cells are the major effector cells of an anti-viral response. In this project, that started in May 2005, we study in detail the relationship between MS, CD8+ T lymphocytes and viruses. In particular, we focus on Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), several lines of evidence suggesting that it might play a role in triggering MS. Since, we try to understand better what happens at the beginning of the disease, we enrol mostly patients in whom MS was diagnosed very recently. We consider that these studies are important, since if we understood what triggers MS, we might be in a better position to design adapted and efficient therapies. If you are interested and, in particular, if you want to see our publications, please go on the following website: and click on Neuroimmunology.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 21.02.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants


Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
124893 CD8+ T lymphocytes, cytokines, Epstein-Barr virus: towards an unifying mechanism in Multiple Sclerosis? 01.05.2009 SNSF Professorships