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Brain Damage, Brain Repair$
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James W. Fawcett, Anne E. Rosser, and Stephen B. Dunnett

Print publication date: 2002

Print ISBN-13: 9780198523376

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198523376.001.0001

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Inflammation and demyelination

Inflammation and demyelination

With Neil Scolding

Chapter:
(p.45) 4 Inflammation and demyelination
Source:
Brain Damage, Brain Repair
Author(s):

James W. Fawcett

Anne E. Rosser

Stephen B. Dunnett

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198523376.003.0004

Although the CNS has conventionally been viewed as an immunologically privileged site, the importance of immunological responses in the pathogenesis of CNS disease has become increasingly apparent over the last few decades. Indeed, the concept of CNS isolation from the immune system is hard to reconcile with the favourable outcome of encephalitides commonly complicating some exanthemata, such as mumps, and with the brisk cerebrospinal fluid pleocytosis, which almost invariably accompanies brain infection; neither observation suggests that CNS invasion by infective agents proceeds unhindered by immune response. However, whilst absolute immune privilege can no longer be sustained, is has become clear that there are fundamental differences between the mechanisms of immunity in the CNS and those elsewhere in the body. In order to understand the part inflammation plays in both pathogenesis and repair, it is necessary to consider briefly both the principles of the systemic immune response and the blood–brain barrier, which protects nervous tissues from the systemic circulation.

Keywords:   pathogenesis, CNS, brain infection, blood–brain barrier, nervous tissues, systemic circulation

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