The three most prevalent human disorders of the CNS in which immunity and inflammation are likely to have vital roles (excluding infection of the CNS) are fever, multiple sclerosis (MS), and Alzheimer disease (AD). As reviewed here, cytokines are critical in the induction of fever, the pathogenesis of MS, and the pathobiology of AD. Indeed, antibodies targeting cytokines have been used as a therapy for individuals with unusual and persistent febrile reactions not responsive to common antipyretics, while a recombinant cytokine is the most popular treatment for the relapsing-remitting form of MS. Although cytokine-modulating therapies are not currently in clinical use for the treatment of AD, cytokines can ameliorate disease pathology in certain experimental models of AD, suggesting a potential for future therapeutic opportunities.
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