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J Neuroimmunol. 1991 Apr;32(1):67-74.

Cytokine levels in the cerebrospinal fluid and serum of patients with multiple sclerosis.

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Department of Neurology, University of Chicago, IL 60637.


Interleukin (IL) 1 beta, tumor necrosis factor alpha (TNF alpha), and IL-6 are cytokines which mediate cellular responses during immune activation and inflammation. In multiple sclerosis (MS) they might be responsible for T-cell activation (IL-1 beta), for demyelination (TNF alpha), and for immunoglobulin (Ig) synthesis (IL-6) within the central nervous system. We studied IL-1 beta, TNF alpha, and IL-6 levels in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 34 patients with MS, 43 patients with non-inflammatory neurological diseases (NIND), and 19 patients with inflammatory neurological diseases (IND). IL-6 was found in the CSF of 29% of MS, 7% of NIND, and 47% of IND patients. TNF alpha was detected in the CSF of 23% of MS, 7% of NIND, and 29% of IND. CSF IL-6 and TNF alpha levels were significantly higher in MS and IND than in NIND. IL-1 beta was rarely detected in the CSF of any group. At least one cytokine was detected in 52% of MS CSF, 11% of NIND CSF, and 64% of IND CSF. In MS patients, no relationship was observed between the incidence or the amount of intrathecal IgG synthesis or oligoclonal bands and the presence of any cytokine. We also evaluated cytokine levels in paired sera from 11 MS and 13 NIND patients. Low levels of IL-6 were detected in most sera from MS and NIND patients. TNF alpha was detected in only two MS sera, and IL-1 beta was undetectable in any sample. Our results indicate that increased CSF levels of the cytokines IL-6 and TNF alpha occur frequently in MS and IND, but there is no obvious relationship to intrathecal Ig synthesis.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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