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Cells. 2019 Mar 26;8(3). pii: E285. doi: 10.3390/cells8030285.

IL-6, IL-12, and IL-23 STAT-Pathway Genetic Risk and Responsiveness of Lymphocytes in Patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

Author information

1
The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark. marina.rode.von.essen@regionh.dk.
2
The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark. Helle.Bach.Soendergaard@regionh.dk.
3
The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark. eva.rosa.sansone.petersen@regionh.dk.
4
The Danish Multiple Sclerosis Center, Department of Neurology, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Blegdamsvej 9, 2100 Copenhagen, Denmark. finn.thorup.sellebjerg@regionh.dk.

Abstract

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an immune-mediated demyelinating disease characterized by central nervous system (CNS) lymphocyte infiltration, abundant production of pro-inflammatory cytokines, and inappropriate activation of Th1 and Th17 cells, B cells, and innate immune cells. The etiology of MS is complex, and genetic factors contribute to disease susceptibility. Genome-wide association studies (GWAS) have revealed numerous MS-risk alleles in the IL-6/STAT3, IL-12/STAT4, and IL-23/STAT3-pathways implicated in the differentiation of Th1 and Th17 cells. In this study, we investigated the signaling properties of these pathways in T, B, and NK cells from patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) and healthy controls, and assessed the genetic contribution to the activity of the pathways. This revealed a great variability in the level of STAT-pathway molecules and STAT activation between the cell types investigated. We also found a strong donor variation in IL-6, IL-12, and IL-23 responsiveness of primed CD4+ T cells. This variation could not be explained by a single MS-risk variant in a pathway component, or by an accumulation of multiple STAT-pathway MS-risk SNPs. The data of this study suggests that other factors in cohesion with the genetic background contribute to the responsiveness of the IL-6/STAT3, IL-12/STAT4, and IL-23/STAT3-pathways.

KEYWORDS:

STAT-pathway; genetic risk variants; multiple sclerosis

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