Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a demyelinating disease of the central nervous system and cytokines may play a role in the development of MS lesions.
Objective: To determine levels of different cytokines in patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RR-MS) compared to healthy controls.
Methods: Profiles of pro-inflammatory, Th1-, Th2-, and Th17-related cytokines were compared by quantitative multiplexed ELISA-based chemiluminescent assay in 44 RR-MS and 44 healthy age- and sex-matched individuals from the same ethnicity.
Results: Among pro-inflammatory cytokines, the levels of IL-6 (p=0.003), IL-8 (p=0.05) and TNF-α (p=0.002) were higher in patients than controls, though IL-4 and IL-10 as well as ΣTh2 cytokines were lower in patients (p=0.05, p=0.02 and p=0.05, respectively). After gender classification, the higher levels of IL-4 in male patients remained significant and IL-13 also showed significantly higher levels in male patients compared to male controls (p=0.003 and p=0.05, respectively). A significant negative correlation was detected between EDSS and IL-10 or ΣTh2 levels (p=0.005). In addition, IL-1α (r=0.4, p=0.05) and IFN-γ (r=0.35, p=0.05) were also directly correlated with EDSS in female patients.
Conclusions: Patients with RR‑MS who are in the relapse clinical phase exhibit higher levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines and reduction in protective Th2-related cytokines.