Multiple sclerosis‘ etiology, pathogenesis, clinical symptoms, diagnostics and differential diagnosis

Eglė Kymantaitė¹, Viktorija Bleizgytė¹, Urtė Daužvardytė¹

¹Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Faculty of Medicine, Kaunas


Multiple sclerosis is thought to be the most common non-traumatic cause of disability in young adults. Although both the etiology and pathogenesis have not been fully elucidated, it is thought that the underlying mechanism leading to nervous system damage is autoimmune, which can be initiated by the combination of genetic and environmental factors. The clinical manifestations of multiple sclerosis are diverse and non-specific, which greatly complicates the suspicion of the disease. The fact that multiple sclerosis can occur in four stages also contributes to the heterogeneity of this disease. To multiple sclerosis diagnosis the most important is neurological examination, history, MRI of the brain or spinal cord, and cerebrospinal fluid evaluation, but the diagnosis of this disease is complicated because there are many diseases that can mimic multiple sclerosis.

Aim: To analyze literature related to the etiopathogenesis, diagnosis and differential diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

Methods: A literature review was performed based on the PubMed, ClinicalKey, and UpToDate databases. Publications were selected using the following keywords in the original language: “Multiple Sclerosis”, “Etiology of Multiple Sclerosis”, “Pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis”, “Symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis”, “Diagnosis and Differential Diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis”. 60 articles were reviewed, of which 34 articles were selected for further analysis.

Results: Multiple sclerosis is a chronic demyelinating inflammatory disease of the central nervous system. It presents with a wide range of clinical symptoms that are non-specific, making the diagnosis of this disease difficult.

Conclusion: This literature review presents the most important aspects about the etiopathogenesis, clinic, and diagnosis of multiple sclerosis.

Keywords: Multiple sclerosis, autoimmune disease, axonal degeneration.