Interest in CD8+ T cells and B cells was initially inspired by observations in multiple sclerosis rather than in animal models: CD8+ T cells predominate in multiple sclerosis lesions, oligoclonal immunoglobulin bands in CSF have long been recognised as diagnostic and prognostic markers, and anti-B-cell therapies showed considerable efficacy in multiple sclerosis. Taking a reverse-translational approach, findings from human T-cell receptor (TCR) and B-cell receptor (BCR) repertoire studies provided strong evidence for antigen-driven clonal expansion in the brain and CSF. New methods allow the reconstruction of human TCRs and antibodies from tissue-infiltrating immune cells, which can be used for the unbiased screening of antigen libraries. Myelinoligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) has received renewed attention as an antibodytarget in childhood multiple sclerosis and in a small subgroup of adult patients with multiple sclerosis. Furthermore, there is growing evidence that a separate condition in adults exists, tentatively called MOG-antibody-associated encephalomyelitis, which has clinical features that overlap with neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder and multiple sclerosis. Although CD8+ T cells and B cells are thought to have a pathogenic role in some subgroups of patients, their target antigens have yet to be identified.