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The contribution of autoimmune responses to the pathogenesis of Theiler's virus-induced demyelinating disease was investigated. Delayed-type hypersensitivity responses to myelin were examined in both symptomatic and asymptomatic mice at different times post-infection, in order to determine whether autoreactivity correlates with the development of demyelination. The results indicate that although autoimmune responses probably do not play a major role in the initiation of demyelination at early times post-infection, autoreactivity to myelin antigens dose eventually develop in symptomatic animals, perhaps through the mechanism of epitope spreading. Autoimmunity to myelin components is therefore an additional factor that may contribute to lesion progression in chronically diseased animals.