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ISRN Immunology
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 795075, 14 pages
Review Article

Role of Natural Killer Cells in Multiple Sclerosis

Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine, Institute of Basic Medical Sciences, University of Oslo, POB 1103, 0317 Oslo, Norway

Received 26 July 2012; Accepted 29 August 2012

Academic Editors: M. C. Béné and A. Tommasini

Copyright © 2012 A. A. Maghazachi. 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.


Although the etiology of multiple sclerosis (MS) is not known, the consensus is that Th1 cells sensitized to myelin proteins in the periphery are recruited into the CNS and damage the myelin sheath. Natural killers (NK) are cells that spontaneously lyse tumor target cells and have immunoregulatory activity secreting multiple cytokines and chemokines, as well as interacting with cells of innate and adaptive immune systems. A great discovery in the field is the cloning of several inhibitory and activating receptors. Another important contribution is the discovery that these cells express many seven-transmembrane-spanning domain receptors which aid them in extravasations into injured tissues. Despite all this progress, the role of NK cells in autoimmune diseases including MS is still not quite clear. In this paper, I will summarize recent findings related to the effects of these cells in both MS and the animal model of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). Hence, I will discuss the effects of drugs used to treat MS/EAE and then explain their effects on NK cells. These include anti-CD25 or daclizumab, interferon-β (IFN-β), natalizumab, glatiramer acetate (GA), and fingolimod (FTY720). Finally, I will explain the contribution of the recently discovered NK17/NK1 cells in MS disease.