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More MS news articles for November 2003

Induction of Apoptosis of CD4+ T Cells by Immunomodulatory Therapy of Multiple Sclerosis with Glatiramer Acetate

Eur Neurol. 2003;50(4):200-6
Rieks M, Hoffmann V, Aktas O, Juschka M, Spitzer I, Brune N, Schimrigk S, Przuntek H, Pohlau D.
Department of Neurology, Zentrum fur klinische Forschung, Neuroimmunology, St. Josef Hospital, Ruhr University Bochum, Bochum, Germany.

Glatiramer acetate (GA), a mixture of synthetic polypeptides, has beneficial effects on the clinical course and the MRI-defined disease activity of patients with multiple sclerosis (MS).

In MS, evidence has been provided that the apoptosis of disease-relevant T cells is dysregulated.

In this study, we investigated the effect of GA on T cell apoptosis, T cell activation, and cytokine profile of lymphocytes derived from 19 relapsing-remitting MS patients during the first year of GA therapy.

Analysis of blood samples obtained every 6 weeks showed an increase in apoptotic T helper cells after 30 weeks of therapy.

This effect remained until the end of the study and was accompanied by an increase in activated T cells and interleukin-4-producing lymphocytes.

Thus, in addition to the established effect of GA on the cytokine network, GA-mediated immunomodulation might involve the apoptotic elimination of T helper cells.