Hormone and immune system interactions in demyelinating disease

Francisco P. Gomez, Andrew J. Steelman, Colin R. Young, C. Jane Welsh

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


This article is part of a Special Issue "Hormones & Neurotrauma".The immune, endocrine and nervous systems communicate with each other through a myriad of molecules including cytokines, hormones and neurotransmitters. Alterations in the balance of the products of these systems affect susceptibility to autoimmune disease and also the progression of disease. One of the most intensely studied autoimmune diseases is multiple sclerosis (MS). The purpose of this review is to explore the relationships between sex hormones and MS disease progression and to attempt to understand the paradox that although women are more likely to develop MS, female sex hormones appear to be beneficial in symptom amelioration. The proposed mechanisms of the therapeutic action of estrogens will be discussed with respect to T cell polarization and also on CNS cell populations. Investigations into the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) and animal models of MS have given insights into the interactions between the neuroendocrine systems and provide important potential therapeutic venues that may be expanded to other autoimmune and neurodegenerative conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)315-321
Number of pages7
JournalHormones and Behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • EAE
  • Estradiol
  • Estriol
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • Sex hormones
  • Theiler's virus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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