The effects of interferon-beta on interleukin-10 in multiple sclerosis patients

Eur J Neurol. 2005 Mar;12(3):208-11. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-1331.2004.00986.x.


The incidence of the neuropathological lesions and the severity of the clinical symptoms in multiple sclerosis (MS) are correlated with the amount of the transferred autoreactive T cells. The balance between the T helper 1 (Th1) and T helper 2 (Th2) cytokine phenotypes may affect the activity of the disease in MS patients. Interleukin-10 (IL-10) is a cytokine secreted by Th2 cells. Thus, it has been thought that inducing IL-10 may have therapeutic effects in the treatment of MS patients. In this study, in order determine whether different types of prophylaxis change the secretion of IL-10, we measured the levels of IL-10 in relapsing-remitting type multiple sclerosis (RRMS) patients receiving interferon-beta 1b (IFN-beta 1b) or azathioprine (AZA). Our study consisted of RRMS patients (n=45) and healthy subjects (n=15) as control group. Patients were categorized into three groups as those receiving either IFN-beta 1b or AZA and those not receiving prophylaxis. Each group was compared with the control group. Serum IL-10 levels were determined using ELISA method. IL-10 levels of those receiving IFN-beta 1b were found to be significantly higher than that of other groups. These results support that the ability of inducing anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-10 plays a role in the clinical advantage of IFN-beta 1b in MS treatment.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Azathioprine / pharmacology
  • Azathioprine / therapeutic use
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects*
  • Central Nervous System / immunology*
  • Central Nervous System / physiopathology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / pharmacology
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Interferon beta-1b
  • Interferon-beta / pharmacology*
  • Interferon-beta / therapeutic use
  • Interleukin-10 / blood*
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / blood
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology*
  • Th1 Cells / drug effects
  • Th1 Cells / immunology
  • Th1 Cells / metabolism
  • Th2 Cells / drug effects
  • Th2 Cells / immunology
  • Th2 Cells / metabolism
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Up-Regulation / drug effects
  • Up-Regulation / immunology


  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interferon beta-1b
  • Interferon-beta
  • Azathioprine