More MS news articles for July 2002

Down-regulation of survivin expression in T lymphocytes after interferon Beta-1a treatment in patients with multiple sclerosis

Arch Neurol 2002 Jul;59(7):1115-21
Sharief MK, Semra YK.
Department of Neuroimmunology, Hodgkin Bldg, Guy's Hospital, London SE1 1UL, England.


Treatment with interferon beta reduces clinical exacerbations in multiple sclerosis (MS) through several immunomodulatory mechanisms that involve the augmentation of programmed cell death (apoptosis) of peripheral T lymphocytes. The expression of survivin, a cell cycle-regulated antiapoptosis protein, is up-regulated in mitogen-stimulated T lymphocytes from patients with MS, and this expression correlates with MS disease activity.


To evaluate the effect of interferon beta on the expression of survivin and other apoptosis regulatory molecules in peripheral T lymphocytes from patients with MS.


In a prospective, combined clinical and immunologic study, we evaluated the expression of survivin, Bcl-2 protein, and the death receptor Fas in mitogen-stimulated T lymphocytes from 26 patients with MS, before and serially after treatment with interferon beta-1a. We also investigated the long-term effects of interferon beta-1a on cellular expression of these proteins and T-lymphocyte apoptosis in a cross-sectional study of 19 patients with MS receiving long-term interferon beta-1a therapy.


Treatment with interferon beta-1a reduced the expression of survivin in in vitro stimulated T lymphocytes. This reduced expression correlated with augmented T-cell susceptibility to apoptosis and with clinical response to treatment. In contrast, interferon beta-1a therapy did not significantly alter cellular expression of Bcl-2 protein or Fas. This down-regulatory effect of interferon beta-1a on cellular expression of survivin was maintained after long-term therapy.


Our observations suggest that interferon beta exerts a regulatory effect on peripheral T lymphocytes through an antiapoptosis mechanism that involves the down-regulation of cellular survivin expression.