Neuroimmunology Clinic

What Causes Neuroimmunologic Disorders? 

In a healthy child, the central nervous system communicates with the immune system, signaling it to react when an infection or other stressor attacks the body. That immune system response is what keeps us from getting sick or rallies the body to recover from an illness. But sometimes this communication can break down, causing the immune system to go into overdrive and attack healthy cells.

The Neuroimmunology Clinic at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh’s Brain Care Institute focuses on this delicate relationship between the nervous system and the immune system for the diagnosis, education, and treatment of children with acquired inflammatory disorders of the central nervous system due to immunity-related factors.

What Causes Demyelination?

The Neuroimmunology Clinic diagnoses and treats children with a group of conditions called acute demyelinating syndromes (ADS). These disorders occur when myelin — the protective covering around nerve fibers in the central nervous system — breaks down and stops or slows the communication between the brain and the rest of the body.

Myelin disorders symptoms can occur in the brain, spinal cord (transverse myelitis), optic nerve (optic neuritis), or throughout the entire central nervous system, as in the case of multiple sclerosis and acute disseminated encephalomyelitis.

Learn more about ADS and other neuroimmunologic disorders.

Learn more about Child Neurology.

Neuroimmunology Research and Clinical Studies

Children’s Hospital is a pioneer in the use of long-term immunosuppressive treatments, such as disease-modifying agents; interferon and others. Today, the Children’s Hospital Brain Care Institute uses monoclonal antibodies to prevent future relapses and severe disabilities as well as other novel agents developed through research and clinical studies.

To further advance neuroimmune biology, each patient also has the opportunity to be enrolled in the Pittsburgh Pediatric Demyelinating Cohort Study, which allows participants to be followed prospectively and contacted in the future for research and educational opportunities.

Referral Requirements

Referrals are required from primary care physicians or other UPMC Children's Hospital specialty services. To schedule an appointment or for provider numbers or more information, please call the office number listed.