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.