Interferon-beta modifies the peripheral blood cell cytokine secretion in patients with multiple sclerosis

Int Immunopharmacol. 2009 Jul;9(7-8):824-30. doi: 10.1016/j.intimp.2009.03.004. Epub 2009 Mar 14.


Immunotherapy with Interferon-beta (IFNbeta) results in remarkably beneficial effects in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (MS), although the mechanisms by which it exerts these beneficial effects remain poorly understood. An investigation was made of the effects of IFNbeta on pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokine production in peripheral blood cells in MS patients, both untreated and those undergoing immunotherapy, as well as in healthy controls. Results show a significant increase in the production of pro-inflammatory cytokines such as TNFalpha, IFNgamma and IL-12 in the plasma and in the supernatant of leukocyte cultures from MS patients with the untreated disease; IFNbeta administration significantly reduced the levels of TNFalpha and IFNgamma, with no changes in the level of IL-12. The Interferon-beta therapy also led to a significant increase in the production of IL-10, as well as a slight increase in that of TGFbeta. The reduction in pro-inflammatory cytokine production in the treated MS patient group, accompanied by a simultaneous increase in the production of anti-inflammatory cytokines and the reduction of relapse rates suggests that the beneficial effects of IFNbeta immunotherapy result, at least in part, from the modulation of cytokine patterns.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brazil
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunotherapy*
  • Interferon-beta / immunology
  • Interferon-beta / metabolism*
  • Interferon-gamma / immunology
  • Interferon-gamma / metabolism*
  • Interleukin-10 / metabolism
  • Interleukin-12 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / blood
  • Multiple Sclerosis / immunology*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / physiopathology
  • Multiple Sclerosis / therapy
  • Neutrophils / immunology
  • Neutrophils / metabolism*
  • Neutrophils / pathology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / genetics
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / metabolism


  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha
  • Interleukin-10
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interferon-beta
  • Interferon-gamma