Interleukin 17F level and interferon β response in patients with multiple sclerosis

JAMA Neurol. 2013 Aug;70(8):1017-21. doi: 10.1001/jamaneurol.2013.192.


Importance: High serum levels of interleukin 17F (IL-17F) at baseline have been associated with suboptimal response to interferon beta in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis.

Objective: To further investigate the role of IL-17F in predicting treatment response to interferon beta-1b in patients with relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis using the Singulex Erenna IL-17F immunoassay.

Design, setting, and patients: Serum samples were analyzed from 239 randomly selected patients treated with interferon beta-1b, 250 μg, for at least 2 years in the Betaferon Efficacy Yielding Outcomes of a New Dose Study.

Exposure: Treatment with interferon beta-1b, 250 μg, for at least 2 years.

Main outcome measures: Levels of IL-17F at baseline and month 6 as well as the difference between the IL-17F levels at month 6 and baseline were compared between the following: (1) patients with less disease activity vs more disease activity; (2) patients with no disease activity vs some disease activity; and (3) responders vs nonresponders.

Results: Levels of IL-17F measured at baseline and month 6 did not correlate with lack of response to treatment after 2 years using clinical and magnetic resonance imaging criteria. Relapses and new lesions on magnetic resonance imaging were not associated with pretreatment serum IL-17F levels. When patients with neutralizing antibodies were excluded, the results did not change. All patients with levels of IL-17F greater than 200 pg/mL were associated with poor response with some clinical or radiological activity.

Conclusions and relevance: An increase of IL-17F before and early after treatment with interferon beta-1b was not associated with poor response. These data do not support the value of IL-17F as a treatment response indicator for therapy of patients with multiple sclerosis with interferon beta, although high levels of IL-17F greater than 200 pg/mL may predict nonresponsiveness.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Immunoassay / methods
  • Interferon beta-1b
  • Interferon-beta / administration & dosage*
  • Interferon-beta / physiology*
  • Interferon-beta / therapeutic use
  • Interleukin-17 / biosynthesis*
  • Interleukin-17 / blood
  • Interleukin-17 / physiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / drug therapy*
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / immunology
  • Multiple Sclerosis, Relapsing-Remitting / metabolism*
  • Random Allocation
  • Time Factors
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Interleukin-17
  • Interferon beta-1b
  • Interferon-beta