Background and purpose: Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) is classically assumed to be a neurodegenerative disorder. Inflammation has been observed in CNS tissue in ALS patients. We investigated the expression and prognostic relevance of proinflammatory chemokines in ALS.
Methods: We analyzed nine chemokines, eotaxin, eotaxin-3, IL-8, IP-10, MCP-1, MCP-4, macrophage derived chemokine (MDC), macrophage inflammatory protein-1beta (MIP-1beta), and serum thymus and activation- regulated chemokine (TARC) in serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of 20 ALS- and 20 non-inflammatory neurological disease (NIND)-patients.
Results: MCP-1 and IL-8 levels in CSF in ALS were significantly higher than in NIND (1304 pg/ml vs. 1055 pg/ml, P = 0.013 and 22.7 pg/ml vs. 18.6 pg/ml, P = 0.035). The expression of MCP-1 and IL-8 were higher in CSF than in serum (P < 0.001). There was a trend towards higher MCP-1 CSF levels in ALS patients with shorter time between first symptoms and diagnosis (r = -0.407; P = 0.075).
Conclusions: We confirmed previous findings of increased MCP-1 levels in CSF of ALS patients. Furthermore, increased levels of IL-8 in CSF suggest a stimulation of a proinflammatory cytokine cascade after microglia activation. We found a tendency for higher MCP-1 values in patients with a shorter diagnostic delay, who are known to have also a shorter survival. This may suggest an association of higher MCP-1 levels with rapidly progressing disease.