Journal of Neuroimmunology, Vol. 133 (1-2) (2002) pp. 233-240
Marco Cosentino a,b,c, Mauro Zaffaroni d, Franca Marino a,b,c, Raffaella Bombelli c, Marco Ferrari c, Emanuela Rasini c, Sergio Lecchini a,b,c, Angelo Ghezzi d and Gianmario Frigo a,b
a Center for Research in Clinical and Applied Pharmacology, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy
b Center for Research in Clinical and Applied Pharmacology, University of Pavia, Pavia, Italy
c Laboratory of Pharmacology, University of Insubria, Varese, Italy
d Multiple Sclerosis Center, University of Milan, Hospital `S. Antonio Abate', Gallarate VA, Italy
Sympathoadrenergic mechanisms may play a role in multiple sclerosis (MS). We examined catecholamine (CA) levels and production and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) expression in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) from MS patients, and the correlation between CA production and apoptosis in PBMCs. PBMCs from MS patients had increased norepinephrine (NE) levels. However, phytohaemagglutinin (PHA)-stimulated PBMCs from MS patients with active disease synthesized less dopamine (DA) than cells from both healthy controls and patients with inactive disease. PBMCs from patients with inactive disease showed lower expression of TH. Pharmacological inhibition of TH in cultured PBMCs stimulated with PHA reduced the percentage of apoptotic cells. Since a failure of activation-induced apoptosis in immune cells may be involved in MS, it is suggested that altered CA production by PBMCs may be implicated in such dysregulation.
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