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Open Access Enhancing the Ability of Experimental Autoimmune Encephalomyelitis to Serve as a More Rigorous Model of Multiple Sclerosis through Refinement of the Experimental Design

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Advancing the understanding of the mechanisms involved in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS) likely will lead to new and better therapeutics. Although important information about the disease process has been obtained from research on pathologic specimens, peripheral blood lymphocytes and MRI studies, the elucidation of detailed mechanisms has progressed largely through investigations using animal models of MS. In addition, animal models serve as an important tool for the testing of putative interventions. The most commonly studied model of MS is experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE). This model can be induced in a variety of species and by various means, but there has been concern that the model may not accurately reflect the disease process, and more importantly, it may give rise to erroneous findings when it is used to test possible therapeutics. Several reasons have been given to explain the shortcomings of this model as a useful testing platform, but one idea provides a framework for improving the value of this model, and thus, it deserves careful consideration. In particular, the idea asserts that EAE studies are inadequately designed to enable appropriate evaluation of putative therapeutics. Here we discuss problem areas within EAE study designs and provide suggestions for their improvement. This paper is principally directed at investigators new to the field of EAE, although experienced investigators may find useful suggestions herein.

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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, College of Pharmacy-Glendale, Midwestern University, Glendale, Arizona 2: Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas, Division of Biology, Kansas State University, Manhattan, Kansas 3: Research Design and Analysis Unit, Life Span Institute, University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas 4: Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas.

Publication date: 2009-04-01

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  • Comparative Medicine (CM), an international journal of comparative and experimental medicine, is the leading English-language publication in the field and is ranked by the Science Citation Index in the upper third of all scientific journals. The mission of CM is to disseminate high-quality, peer-reviewed information that expands biomedical knowledge and promotes human and animal health through the study of laboratory animal disease, animal models of disease, and basic biologic mechanisms related to disease in people and animals.

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