Last Updated: 2000-09-21 12:30 EDT (Reuters Health)
WESTPORT, CT (Reuters Health) - Baseline levels of interleukin-12p35 mRNA in whole blood are lower in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis who respond to treatment with interferon-beta-1b than in patients who do not respond. This finding, reported by investigators in the Netherlands, may result in the ability to predict clinical responsiveness to interferon-beta.
Dr. L. Nagelkerken, of Leiden University Medical Center, and colleagues evaluated clinical response to interferon-beta-1b treatment in 26 patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis, with 16 deemed responders and 10 nonresponders.
Blood was sampled at baseline and at 1, 3 and 6 months after initiation of treatment to analyze levels of mRNA encoding pro- and anti-inflammatory cytokines and the interleukin-12R chains. The results are reported in the September issue of the Annals of Neurology.
The investigators observed no significant differences in mean cytokine mRNA levels between the two groups of patients. Interleukin-18 mRNA levels decreased in the nonresponders but not in the responders. Tumor necrosis factor-alpha mRNA decreased significantly in the nonresponders, but again, not in the responders.
At baseline, responders exhibited significantly lower levels of mRNA encoding interleukin-12p35, transforming growth factor-beta, and interleukin-18 compared with nonresponders. Using interleukin-12p35 mRNA levels as a marker, 81.3% of responders and 80.0% of nonresponders were predicted correctly.
Dr. Nagelkerken and associates describe their investigation as "the first study that uses the clinical outcome" in multiple sclerosis to find predictors of treatment efficacy for interferon-beta-1b, and they conclude that "mRNA analysis is of great potential."
Ann Neurol 2000;48:313-322.