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Eur J Neurol. 2000 Jan;7(1):71-6.

Increased numbers of mononuclear cells from blood and CSF expressing interferon-gamma mRNA in multiple sclerosis are from both the CD4+ and the CD8+ subsets.

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Neuroimmunology Unit, Department of Medicine, Karolinska Institute, Center of Molecular Medicine, L8:04, S-171 76 Stockholm, Sweden.


Activated, cytokine-producing lymphocytes may regulate central nervous system (CNS) inflammation in multiple sclerosis (MS). We utilize a novel combination of in situ hybridization (ISH) and immunocytochemical staining of peripheral blood lymphocytes (PBLs) to identify spontaneously interferon-gamma (IFNgamma) mRNA expressing cells as CD4+ or CD8+. A major proportion of the IFNgamma mRNA expressing lymphocytes belonged to the CD4+ lineage, which concords with the cellular composition of MS brain lesions, findings in experimental models and the HLA class II haplotype association in MS. There were also significantly more CD8+ IFNgamma mRNA expressing lymphocytes in the MS patients compared with healthy controls, further suggesting the contribution of activated cells from this lineage in the inflammatory response in MS. Both CD4+ and CD8+ IFNgamma mRNA expressing cells were enriched in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) as compared with the peripheral blood of the MS patients. Combined with emerging genetic data on HLA class I influences, our data argues for a joint role of activated CD8+ and CD4+ cells in the pathogenesis of MS.

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