Multiple sclerosis (MS), a debilitating neuroinflammatory disease of the human central nervous system, is typically considered as a white matter disease in which an auto-reactive immune system attacks components of the axonal myelin sheath to impair fast impulse transmission along myelinated axons in the brain. In the last few years, it has become clear that not only the white matter is affected in multiple sclerosis but also the grey matter and neuronal synapses, the key structures of neuronal communication. These synaptic changes occur early and independent of demyelination processes in the white matter. In this short review, we will summarize results that document an involvement of synapses in multiple sclerosis patients and in rodent models of multiple sclerosis. We discuss how inflammatory signalling in multiple sclerosis can influence synaptic transmission.
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