Cytokines in multiple sclerosis: methodological aspects and pathogenic implications

V Ozenci, M Kouwenhoven, H Link

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Multiple sclerosis (MS) is one of the leading causes of disability among young adults of Caucasian origin. One hundred and fifty years after the first description of the disease, the cause of MS remains unknown. Ironically, the few hypotheses concerning MS pathogenesis that are valid today were first proposed over a hundred years ago. However, equipped with the advanced technology of molecular biology and imaging systems, we are at present progressively uncovering dues to understanding the pathogenesis of the disease. It is dearly evident that aberrant immune responses occur in MS, and it is likely that the spectrum of cytokines produced decisively influences disease outcome. The detrimental consequences of IFN-gamma and the beneficial effects of IFN-beta treatment in MS support this hypothesis. However, there are still major gaps in our knowledge of the involvement of cytokines in MS. Numerous studies have addressed the question of cytokine levels in MS, often with conflicting results; elevated, normal and decreased levels of almost all cytokines have been reported. This scenario most probably reflects methodological dilemmas as well as the complex biology of cytokines. Here we focus on possible reasons for the discrepancies of results reported on cytokines in MS and summarize findings obtained in particular by the application of enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assays to cytokine studies in MS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)396-404
Number of pages9
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Volume8
Issue number5
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2002

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