Background: Th17 cells are thought to contribute to the immunopathology of allergic and autoimmune conditions. Their role in multiple sclerosis (MS) pathology remains to be fully elucidated.
Objective: To assess peripheral blood Th17 responses in patients with MS compared to controls.
Methods: We isolated peripheral blood mononuclear cells from 41 MS patients and 23 healthy controls, which were then stimulated using phorbol ester and ionomycin, labelled for CD3, CD8, CD154, IL-17 and IFN-gamma and analysed using flow cytometry.
Results: Minimal IL-17 was detectable in unstimulated cells. Following stimulation with phorbol ester and ionomycin, PBMCs taken from MS patients in relapse developed a more inflammatory profile than those taken from controls or non-relapse patients, with greater expression of CD154, IL-17 and dual expression of IL-17/IFN-gamma.
Conclusion: We suggest a greater tendency to Th17 and Th1/Th17 response to non-specific stimulation in MS patients in relapse compared to controls and non-relapse patients.
2009 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.