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Morphological, physiological and pathological evidence demonstrates that ner vous and immune systems interact not only in maintaining brain homeostasis, but also in causing neurological diseases. The studyofthese interactions repre sents the basis on which neuroimmunologyhas grown during the years. At pre sent, several neurological diseases are recognized to be caused by a derange ment of the immune system in either its regulatory or effector functions. The main scope ofthis book, to discuss how an unbalanced immune system maylead to immune-mediated neurological diseases, is achieved in three parts. The first part provides an overview on how the immune system works. This is propaedeutical to understanding interactions between the immune and ner vous systems, which are discussed in the second part. The third part of the book focuses on one particular area of neuroimmunology, the immune disor ders leading to the damage of central and peripheral myelin. Given the opportunity to review first the immune system in itself and then how it operates during immune-mediated demyelinating disorders, we have tried to provide the reader with a basis for clearly understanding how interac tions between the immune and nervous systems can be protective or pathoge nic. This knowledge is a prerequisite for a rationale immune intervention tar geting these disorders.
Protective versus harmful responses and immune regulation Organization of the immune system antigen recongnition and autoimmunity Assembly and function of immunoglobulines during B cell development Immunological tolerance Pathogenetic mechanisms of autoimmunity Adhesion receptors involved in leukocyte functions The endothelium of the brain microvasculature and the organization of intercellular junction Chemokine and chemokine receptors The1/Th2 cytokine network Lymphocyte trafficking in the central nervous system Antigen presentation in the central nervous system Adhesion molecules and the blood-brain-barrier in multiple sclerosis Myelination steps in the central nervous system Genomic screen in multiple slerosis MHC and multiple sclerosis Cytokine genes in multiple sclerosis Non-myelin antigen autoreactivity in multiple sclerosis Myelin antigen autoreactivity in multiple sclerosis Inflammation and demyelination Magnetic resonance and blood-brain barrier dysfunction in multiple sclerosis Immunotherapies for multiple sclerosis Animal models of demyelination of the central nervous system MHC and non MHC genetics of rat EAE Genetic of hereditary neuropathies Animal models of demyelination in the PNS Immune-mediated neuropathies: diagnostic procedures Pathology of demyelination neuropathies Immunopathogenetic role of anti-neural antibodes in demyelinating dysimmune neuropathies