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Here, we provide evidence for a detrimental role of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (TRAIL) in neural death in T cell-induced experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE), an animal model of multiple sclerosis (MS). Clinical severity and neuronal apoptosis in brainstem motor areas were substantially reduced upon brain-specific blockade of TRAIL after induction of EAE through adoptive transfer of encephalitogenic T cells. Furthermore, TRAIL-deficient myelin-specific lymphocytes showed reduced encephalitogenicity when transferred to wild-type mice. Conversely, intracerebral delivery of TRAIL to animals with EAE increased clinical deficits, while naive mice were not susceptible to TRAIL. Using organotypic slice cultures as a model for living brain tissue, we found that neurons were susceptible to TRAIL-mediated injury induced by encephalitogenic T cells. Thus, in addition to its known immunoregulatory effects, the death ligand TRAIL contributes to neural damage in the inflamed brain.