A minimal unified model of disease trajectories captures hallmarks of multiple sclerosis

Venkateshan Kannan, Narsis A. Kiani, Fredrik Piehl, Jesper Tegner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Multiple Sclerosis (MS) is an autoimmune disease targeting the central nervous system (CNS) causing demyelination and neurodegeneration leading to accumulation of neurological disability. Here we present a minimal, computational model involving the immune system and CNS that generates the principal subtypes of the disease observed in patients. The model captures several key features of MS, especially those that distinguish the chronic progressive phase from that of the relapse-remitting. In addition, a rare subtype of the disease, progressive relapsing MS naturally emerges from the model. The model posits the existence of two key thresholds, one in the immune system and the other in the CNS, that separate dynamically distinct behavior of the model. Exploring the two-dimensional space of these thresholds, we obtain multiple phases of disease evolution and these shows greater variation than the clinical classification of MS, thus capturing the heterogeneity that is manifested in patients.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalMathematical Biosciences
StatePublished - Mar 29 2017

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: We thank Drs. Maja Jagodic, Ingrid Kockum, Tomas Olsson, David Gomez-Cabrero, and Gilad Silberberg for critical discussions and comments. This work was supported by the following grants to J.T; Hjrnfonden, ALF, STATegra (FP7), Torsten Sderberg Foundation, Stockholm County Council, Swedish excellence center for e-science and Swedish Research Council (3R program MH and project grant NT). N.K was supported by a fellowship from VINNOVA. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.


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