The effects of high dose interferon-β1a on plasma microparticles: correlation with MRI parameters

J Neuroinflammation. 2011 May 9;8:43. doi: 10.1186/1742-2094-8-43.


Objectives: We previously reported a correlation between levels of micro particles carrying CD31 (PMP(CD31+)) and disease activity in MS. However, the effects of long term (12 month) treatment with high dose, high frequency interferon-β1a (Rebif™) on plasma levels of PMP(CD31+), PMP(CD146+), and PMP(CD54+) and MRI measures of disease activity have not yet been assessed.

Methods: During this prospective 1-year study, we used flow cytometry to measure changes in plasma micro particles (PMP) bearing CD31 (PMP(CD31+)), CD146 (PMP(CD146+)), and CD54/ICAM-1 (PMP(CD54+)) in 16 consecutive patients with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) before and after 3, 6, and 12 months of subcutaneous therapy with interferon-beta1a (44 micrograms, 3X weekly). At each visit, clinical exams and expanded disability status scale (EDSS) scores were recorded.

Results: Plasma levels of PMP(CD31+), and PMP(CD54+) were significantly reduced by treatment with IFN-β1a. PMP(CD146+) appeared to decrease only at 3 months and did not persist at 6 and 12 months (p = 0.0511). In addition, the decrease in plasma levels of PMP(CD31+) and PMP(CD54+) levels at 12 months were associated with a significant decrease in the number and volume of contrast enhancing T1-weigthed lesions.

Conclusion: Our data suggest that serial measurement of plasma micro particles (PMP), particularly in the initial stages of MS (when neuro-inflammatory cascades are more intense), may serve as reliable and reproducible surrogate markers of response to IFN-β1a therapy for MS. In addition, the progressive decline in plasma levels of PMP(CD31+) and PMP(CD54+) further supports the concept that IFN-β1a exerts stabilizing effect on the cerebral endothelial cells during pathogenesis of MS.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • CD146 Antigen / blood
  • CD146 Antigen / immunology
  • Cell-Derived Microparticles / drug effects*
  • Disease Progression
  • Flow Cytometry / methods
  • Humans
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / blood
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1 / immunology
  • Interferon beta-1a
  • Interferon-beta / pharmacology*
  • Interferon-beta / therapeutic use*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / blood*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / immunology
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / pathology*
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / blood
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1 / immunology
  • Prospective Studies
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Treatment Outcome


  • CD146 Antigen
  • Platelet Endothelial Cell Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Intercellular Adhesion Molecule-1
  • Interferon-beta
  • Interferon beta-1a