Saturday, April 14, 2007

Multiple sclerosis

Disseminated sclerosis is a chronic, inflammatory disease that affects the central nervous system. It is more commonly known as multiple sclerosis. Its symptoms include changes in sensation, visual problems, muscle weakness, cognitive impairment, dysfunctions in balance, speech and muscular coordination, severe fatigue, depression, overheating, and pain.

Multiple sclerosis is believed to be an autoimmune disease in which some unknown trigger initiates an immune response against brain proteins. This is known as an autoaggressive response, and according to this hypothesis, it causes the breakdown of the myelin sheaths that protect nerve axons. This leads to impaired nerve conduction and subsequent neurodegeneration, both of which are characteristic of MS.

Epitope mapping has applications in understanding multiple sclerosis. This mapping can be performed using ELISPOT assays.