John W Prineas (1937-present)

By the middle of this century, a great deal was known about the pathological changes that occur in MS, and the clinical effects of those changes, but the underlying mechanisms leading to tissue pathology were poorly understood, although an immunological role had been confirmed.

During the 1970s and 1980s, John. Prineas of New Jersey, USA used specialised light and electron microscopy techniques to examine the detailed histology of MS lesions, providing clues about their pathogenesis (16).

The slide shows one of Prineas's electron microscopy images showing a microglial cell (arrow) and macrophage in the vicinity of demyelinating axons (16).

It had already been shown that MS lesions contain lymphocytes and plasma cells, suggesting the existence of a local immune response to an unknown antigen, but Prineas's observations led him to conclude that both macrophages and microglial cells are required for the digestion of myelin. Prineas's studies also suggest that within chronic lesions there is a continued expression and processing of antigen in the absence of fresh lesion formation (16).

==> Ian R Young (1932-present)

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