Mult Scler. 2004 Feb;10(1):16-25
Hussien Y, Sanna A, Soderstrom M, Link H, Huang YM.
Neurotec Department, Division of Neuroimmunology, Karolinska Institute, Alfred Nobels Alle 10, Stockholm, Sweden.
Current therapy of multiple sclerosis (MS) with interferon-beta (IFN-beta) or glatiramer acetate (GA) has modest effects on the course of MS.
Both compounds affect several immune variables, like expression of cell surface molecules and cytokine levels.
Here we compared untreated MS, therapy with IFN-beta alone and combined with GA, and healthy controls (HC), regarding expression on HLA-DR+ blood mononuclear cells (MNC) of CD1a that is a cell surface molecule with capacity to present glycolipids to T cells, and of CD80 and CD86 which are costimulatory molecules that activate Th1 and Th2 responses.
Cytokine production by MNC was also measured.
Flow cytometry and ELISA were used.
Cross-sectional comparisons revealed that untreated MS patients had higher CD1a+ HLA-DR+ MNC and lower IL-10 production compared to patients treated with IFN-beta or IFN-beta+GA or HC.
Untreated MS patients also had higher spontaneous IFN-gamma and IL-12p70 production compared to MS patients treated with IFN-beta+GA or HC, but not when compared to MS patients on monotherapy with IFN-beta.
Low CD1a+ HLA-DR+ MNC and low spontaneous production of IL-12p70 and IFN-gamma were more pronounced in patients treated with IFN-beta+GA than with IFN-beta alone.
In order to clarify whether these changes reflect disease activity or treatment effects, we performed a follow up study.
Nineteen MS patients with disease progression, despite monotherapy with IFN-beta for more than one year; were re-examined after one to three and four to six months of treatment with IFN-beta+GA.
This combination therapy was associated with normalization of CD1a+ HLA-DR+ MNC, IL-12p70 and IFN-gamma.
It remains to be shown whether these immunological changes imply a clinical benefit.
Follow up studies of immune variables versus clinical effects during combined therapy of MS with IFN-beta+GA are ongoing.