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Autoimmune Diseases
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 357101, 6 pages
Review Article

Anti-Integrin Therapy for Multiple Sclerosis

1Emergency and Critical Care Center, Mie University Hospital, 2-174 Edobashi, Tsu 514-8507, Japan
2Departments of Molecular Pathobiology and Cell Adhesion Biology, Mie University Graduate School of Medicine, 2-174 Edobashi, Tsu 514-8507, Japan

Received 10 August 2012; Revised 28 November 2012; Accepted 28 November 2012

Academic Editor: Ricard Cervera

Copyright © 2012 Eiji Kawamoto et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Integrins are the foremost family of cell adhesion molecules that regulate immune cell trafficking in health and diseases. Integrin alpha4 mediates organ-specific migration of immune cells to the inflamed brain, thereby playing the critical role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis. Anti-alpha4 integrin therapy aiming to block infiltration of autoreactive lymphocytes to the inflamed brain has been validated in several clinical trials for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. This paper provides readers with an overview of the molecular and structural bases of integrin activation as well as rationale for using anti-alpha4 integrin therapy for multiple sclerosis and then chronicles the rise and fall of this treatment strategy using natalizumab, a humanized anti-alpha4 integrin.