The oligodendrocytes, myelin-producing cells in the central nervous system (CNS), have an essential role in “multiple sclerosis”. This disease is of unknown etiology, and thus, of a variable prognosis. The main pathologic feature is the injury to the myelin and loss of oligodendrocytes in the CNS. Studies of animal models, demonstrating that autoreactive T cells (CD4 or CD8) can result in inflammatory demyelination of the central nervous system, support the theory that multiple sclerosis is an immune-mediated disorder involving one or more antigens located in the myelin of central nervous system cells (neurons and glia). About the disorder´s pathology, important findings have been made regarding inflammation, adhesion-molecules, ion-channel alterations and the process of neurodegeneration in the progression of the multiple sclerosis plaque. The progress made so far in the pathogenesis of the disease will allow a better understanding of the mechanisms involved in its progression and so, more specific treatments can be developed to ensure a better quality of life of the affected patients.
Key words: Oligodendrocytes, multiple sclerosis, myelin, demyelination, plaque, immune response, autoimmunity, pathogenesis.
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