Innate production of interleukin-10 and tumor necrosis factor affects the risk of multiple sclerosis

Ann Neurol. 2000 Oct;48(4):641-6. doi: 10.1002/1531-8249(200010)48:4<641::aid-ana11>;2-q.


Multiple sclerosis (MS) typically presents with a relapsing-remitting onset. This can be distinguished from primary progressive MS. Typical MS is characterized by a profound inflammatory reaction in which anti-inflammatory cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10) and pro-inflammatory cytokine tumor necrosis factor (TNF) may play a pivotal role. We tested the hypothesis that patients with MS have a distinct innate cytokine production that contributes to the susceptibility for and outcome of MS. The innate cytokine production of patients was estimated as the average production of cytokines in lipopolysaccharide -stimulated whole-blood cultures of 2 to 5 first-degree healthy family members. A total of 126 family members of 50 patients with typical MS, 61 family members of 25 patients with primary progressive MS, and 129 control subjects of 54 families were enrolled in this study. We found that members of families with low IL-10 and high TNF production had a fourfold increased risk of developing typical MS compared with members of families with high IL-10 and low TNF production. Patients with MS were eightfold more likely to develop typical MS than primary progressive MS when they belonged to families with low IL-10 and high TNF production. The presence of human leukocyte antigen-DR2 was associated with MS but not with TNF production. This study shows that typical MS is associated with an innate pro-inflammatory cytokine profile in contrast to primary progressive MS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-10 / biosynthesis*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / etiology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / physiopathology*
  • Risk Factors
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / biosynthesis*


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-10