IL‐1ra serum levels in disease stagesof MS – a marker for progression?

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Abstract:

Interleukin‐1 (IL‐1) is one of the major proinflammatory cytokines expressed consistently in multiple sclerosis (MS) lesions. Interleukin‐1 receptor antagonist (IL‐1ra) is the only known naturally occurring specific antagonistic cytokine counteracting IL‐1. Thus IL‐1ra may have a downregulating potential in the disease course of MS. We analysed if circulating IL‐1ra could be associated with different disease stages of MS in sera of 84 MS patients and 18 controls. IL‐1ra showed considerable variations in MS patients and controls. Nevertheless we found significantly elevated serum levels in active as well as in stable disease stages compared to controls. IL‐1ra levels were higher in progressive disease courses compared to relapsing–remitting MS, but not statistically significant (median: 516 versus 434 pg/ml). Further analysis with larger groups of patients and longitudinal studies will clarify if IL‐1ra is useful as a prognostic serum marker in MS.
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