Autoimmunity. 2003 May;36(3):133-41
Hollifield RD, Harbige LS, Pham-Dinh D, Sharief MK.
Biological Sciences Research Centre, School of Chemical and Life Sciences, University of Greenwich at Medway, Chatham Maritime, Kent ME4 4TB, UK.
We investigated circulating anti-inflammatory and pro-inflammatory cytokines, and their ex vivo PBMC production in the absence or presence of the neuroantigens myelin basic protein (MBP) and myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein (MOG) and T cell mitogen (PHA) in MS patients in relapse and remission, patients with other neurological disorders (OND) and normal healthy controls.
MS patients in relapse exhibited significantly increased PBMC production of TNF-alpha spontaneously compared with MS remission and healthy controls and with MBP compared with MS remission.
Patients in relapse had significantly increased spontaneous, PHA- and MBP-induced PBMC IL-1beta production compared with remission MS, and was increased compared (PHA only) with OND and healthy controls.
In relapse there was also significantly increased PBMC IFN-gamma production (PHA only) compared with remission and a significantly lower production of biologically active TGF-beta1 (PHA only) compared with remission MS and OND.
In contrast, MS patients in remission produced significantly less spontaneous and MBP-induced TNF-alpha, spontaneous, PHA- and MBP-induced IL-1beta and PHA-induced IFN-gamma together with increased production of biologically active TGF-beta1.
MOG non-specifically increased PBMC TNF-alpha and IL-1beta production in all groups.
Pro-inflammatory cytokines in corresponding plasma samples were undetectable whilst the concentration of biologically active TGF-beta1 was the reverse of ex vivo PBMC findings.
The increase in biologically active TGF-beta1 production ex vivo in OND patients, despite active disease, compared with the low level in the MS relapse may indicate a regulatory defect in MS.
We conclude that the balance between biologically active TGF-beta1 and the pro-inflammatory TNF-alpha, IL-1beta and IFN-gamma is dysregulated during MS relapse-remission and that normal counter-regulatory mechanisms during the relapse phase are defective.