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Acta Neurol Scand. 2010 Sep;122(3):168-74. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.2009.01301.x.

Is the modulatory effect of pregnancy in multiple sclerosis associated with changes in blood apoptotic molecules?

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Neuroimmunology Unit, Medical School, University of Tampere and Tampere University Hospital, Tampere, Finland.



We examined whether the modulatory effect of pregnancy on multiple sclerosis (MS) is associated with changes in the apoptotic molecules in sera.


The serum levels of tumor necrosis factor-related apoptosis-inducing ligand (sTRAIL), sFas, Fas ligand (sFasL) and macrophage migration inhibitory factor were analyzed from 19 MS patients and 14 controls during late pregnancy and post-partum. The obtained results were related to disease activity and the progression of MS.


Disease activity decreased during pregnancy. The levels of sTRAIL and sFasL increased from late pregnancy to post-partum situation in both MS patients and controls, but in MS patients the changes in the levels of sTRAIL from late pregnancy to post-partum were smaller than in controls.


Post-partum upregulation of TRAIL and FasL seems to be caused by physiologic reactivation of the mother's immune system after pregnancy. An increased risk of relapses in MS post-partum may be associated with changes in the immunomodulatory potential of these apoptotic molecules.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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