Glucocorticoid treatment restores the impaired suppressive function of regulatory T cells in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis

Clin Exp Immunol. 2009 Oct;158(1):26-30. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2249.2009.03987.x.


Patients relapsing from multiple sclerosis (MS) are treated with high-dose, short-term intravenous injection of glucocorticoid (GC), although its mechanism of action remains only partly understood. We evaluated the ex vivo and in vitro effects of GC on regulatory T cell (T(reg)) function in 14 relapsing-remitting MS (RR-MS) patients in acute phase and 20 healthy controls (HC). T(reg) function was enhanced significantly after 5 days of GC treatment. Furthermore, there was a trend towards increasing proportions of CD4(+)CD25(+)forkhead box P3(+) T cells and interleukin-10 secretion with GC treatment when compared with HC. In conclusion, GC treatment restores the impaired T(reg) function in patients with RR-MS in its acute phase.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Autoimmunity / drug effects
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Flow Cytometry / methods
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors / analysis
  • Glucocorticoids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Immunization
  • Immunophenotyping
  • Interleukin-10 / analysis
  • Interleukin-10 / immunology
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit / immunology
  • Lymphocyte Count
  • Methylprednisolone / therapeutic use*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / immunology
  • Regression Analysis
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocytes, Regulatory / immunology*


  • FOXP3 protein, human
  • Forkhead Transcription Factors
  • Glucocorticoids
  • Interleukin-2 Receptor alpha Subunit
  • Interleukin-10
  • Methylprednisolone