Interleukin-17 and interleukin-23 are elevated in serum and cerebrospinal fluid of patients with ALS: a reflection of Th17 cells activation?

Acta Neurol Scand. 2010 Dec;122(6):425-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1600-0404.2010.01333.x.


Background: There is evidence that immunological factors may involved in pathogenetic mechanisms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). Th17 cells are characterized by predominant production of IL-17 and are suggested to be crucial in destructive autoimmunity. Interleukin-23 (IL-23) appears to play a supporting role in the continued stimulation and survival of Th17.

Patients and methods: We measured by enzyme-like immunosorbent assay (ELISA) serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of IL-17 and IL-23 in 22 patients with ALS and 19 patients with other non-inflammatory neurological disorders (NIND) studied as a control group. IL-17 and IL-23 serum and CSF levels were also correlated with duration of the disease, the disability level and the clinical subtype of the disease onset in patients with ALS.

Results: IL-17 and IL-23 serum levels were higher in patients with ALS as compared with patients with NIND (P = 0.015 and P = 0.002 respectively). IL-17 and IL-23 CSF levels were also increased in patients with ALS (P = 0.0006 and P = 0.000001 respectively). IL-17 and IL-23 levels were not correlated with disease duration, disability scale or clinical subtype of the disease onset in ALS patients.

Conclusions: Our findings suggest that these molecules may be involved in the pathogenetic mechanisms acting as potential markers of Th17 cells activation in ALS.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / blood*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / immunology
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-17 / blood*
  • Interleukin-17 / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Interleukin-23 / blood*
  • Interleukin-23 / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Statistics, Nonparametric


  • Interleukin-17
  • Interleukin-23