CNS autoimmune disease after Streptococcus pyogenes infections: animal models, cellular mechanisms and genetic factors

Written by Tyler Cutforth, Mellissa MC DeMille, Ilir Agalliu & Dritan Agalliu

Streptococcus pyogenes infections have been associated with two autoimmune diseases of the CNS: Sydenham’s chorea (SC) and pediatric autoimmune neuropsychiatric disorders associated with streptococcus infections (PANDAS). Despite the high frequency of pharyngeal streptococcus infections among children, only a small fraction develops SC or PANDAS. This suggests that several factors in combination are necessary to trigger autoimmune complications: specific S. pyogenes strains that induce a strong immune response toward the host nervous system; genetic susceptibility that predispose children toward an autoimmune response involving movement or tic symptoms; and multiple infections of the throat or tonsils that lead to a robust Th17...

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