Neuroimmune interactions in a model of multiple sclerosis

C. Jane Welsh, Andrew J. Steelman, Wentao Mi, Colin R. Young, Ralph Storts, Thomas H. Welsh, Mary W. Meagher

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Psychological stress has been implicated in both the onset and exacerbation of multiple sclerosis (MS). Our research has focused on the role of stress at the onset of MS, using the mouse model Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus-induced demyelination. Theiler's virus is a natural pathogen of mice that causes a persistent infection of the central nervous system (CNS) and inflammatory immune-mediated demyelination that is very similar to MS. Our research has shown that restraint stress sufficiently increases corticosterone secretion to cause immunosuppression. Stressed mice develop decreased innate and adaptive immune responses, including decreased chemokine and cytokine responses, to virus, which leads to increased viral replication within the CNS. Higher levels of virus then cause increased later demyelinating disease. These findings may have important implications in our understanding of the interactions between stress and the development of autoimmune diseases induced by infectious agents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationNeuroimmunomodulation
Subtitle of host publicationFrom Fundamental Biology to Therapy
PublisherBlackwell Publishing Inc.
Number of pages11
ISBN (Print)9781573317467
StatePublished - Feb 2009
Externally publishedYes

Publication series

NameAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
ISSN (Print)0077-8923
ISSN (Electronic)1749-6632


  • Adaptive immunity
  • Autoimmunity
  • CD4 T cells
  • CD8 T cells
  • Central nervous system
  • Chemokines
  • Corticosterone
  • Cytokines
  • Demyelination
  • Glucocorticoids
  • HPA axis
  • Immune system
  • Innate immunity
  • Interferon
  • Macrophages
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • NK cells
  • Restraint stress
  • Stress
  • T cells
  • Th1
  • Th2
  • Theiler's virus
  • Viruses
  • inflammation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • History and Philosophy of Science


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