J Neurol Sci 2002 Aug 15;200(1-2):53-5
Kahl KG, Kruse N, Toyka KV, Rieckmann P.
Department of Neurology, Clinical Research Unit for Multiple Sclerosis and Neuroimmunology, Julius-Maximilians University, Wurzburg, Germany
In this pilot study, we serially determined the cytokine messenger RNA (mRNA) expression pattern in whole blood samples from 12 patients with clinical isolated syndrome suggestive of early multiple sclerosis (MS) using a new sensitive quantitative polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method.
Significantly higher levels of tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha; x5.1), interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma; x4.8) and interleukin-10 (IL-10; x5.6) mRNA were detected in MS patients at the time of a relapse compared to healthy controls.
Treatment with i.v. methylprednisolone (MP) led to an increase of IL-4 mRNA and a significant decrease of IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha mRNA expression.
In this cohort of clinically stable patients, proinflammatory cytokines remained low during the 1-year follow-up period.
As several indications point to a cytokine dysregulation in MS, quantitative analysis of cytokine mRNA profiles in whole blood samples by real time PCR may be a useful immunological marker to monitor disease activity in future therapeutic trials in MS.