J Neuroimmunol. 2004 Mar;148(1-2):206-11
Fainardi E, Rizzo R, Melchiorri L, Castellazzi M, Govoni V, Caniatti L, Paolino E, Tola MR, Granieri E, Baricordi OR.
Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, University of Ferrara, Arcispedale S. Anna, Corso della Giovecca 203, Ferrara I-44100, Italy.
It has recently become clear that interferon-beta (IFN-beta) treatment is effective in ameliorating relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) through an as yet unidentified mechanism.
As there is no recognisable biological indicator to predict responsiveness to IFN-beta treatment, we have investigated fluctuations in serum sHLA-I levels in MS patients undergoing IFN-beta 1b therapy.
Serum sHLA-I concentrations measured by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) were assessed at baseline and, longitudinally, over a period of 18 months after the start of treatment in 29 RRMS patients grouped as responders and nonresponders according to their clinical response to IFN-beta 1b therapy.
Thirty-nine healthy volunteers served as controls.
Serum sHLA-I concentrations were significantly higher (p<0.001) in pretreated RRMS patients than in healthy donors.
In MS patients, changes in mean serum levels of sHLA-I from baseline showed a temporal pattern characterized by a strong increase in the first trimester of treatment, a return toward basal values in the following 6 months, a slight decline at 12th and 15th months and a further moderate increase at the 18th month.
Mean serum sHLA-I levels were significantly more elevated in responders than in nonresponders at the first (p<0.02), second (p<0.01), and at third (p<0.02) months after the beginning of treatment and significantly lower (p<0.01) at the time of relapses in comparison to baseline values.
Overall, these results seem to indicate that IFN-beta 1b can modulate fluctuations in serum sHLA-I levels and argue in favour of a potential role for serum levels of sHLA-I as a sensitive marker to monitor response to IFN-beta treatment in MS.