Multiple sclerosis: the role of cytokines in pathogenesis and in therapies

Int J Mol Sci. 2012 Oct 19;13(10):13438-60. doi: 10.3390/ijms131013438.


Multiple sclerosis, the clinical features and pathological correlate for which were first described by Charcot, is a chronic neuroinflammatory disease with unknown etiology and variable clinical evolution. Although neuroinflammation is a descriptive denominator in multiple sclerosis based on histopathological observations, namely the penetration of leukocytes into the central nervous system, the clinical symptoms of relapses, remissions and progressive paralysis are the result of losses of myelin and neurons. In the absence of etiological factors as targets for prevention and therapy, the definition of molecular mechanisms that form the basis of inflammation, demyelination and toxicity for neurons have led to a number of treatments that slow down disease progression in specific patient cohorts, but that do not cure the disease. Current therapies are directed to block the immune processes, both innate and adaptive, that are associated with multiple sclerosis. In this review, we analyze the role of cytokines in the multiple sclerosis pathogenesis and current/future use of them in treatments of multiple sclerosis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Retracted Publication
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cytokines / genetics
  • Cytokines / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate
  • Immunosuppressive Agents / therapeutic use
  • Interleukin-17 / genetics
  • Interleukin-17 / metabolism
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy
  • Multiple Sclerosis / pathology*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / metabolism


  • Cytokines
  • Immunosuppressive Agents
  • Interleukin-17