Cytokines in Machado Joseph Disease/Spinocerebellar Ataxia 3

Cerebellum. 2016 Aug;15(4):518-25. doi: 10.1007/s12311-015-0719-z.


The aim of the present study is to describe the serum concentrations of a broad spectrum of cytokines in symptomatic and asymptomatic carriers of Machado Joseph disease (SCA3/MJD) CAG expansions. Molecularly confirmed carriers and controls were studied. Age at onset, disease duration, and clinical scales Scale for the Assessment and Rating of Ataxia (SARA), Neurological Examination Score for Spinocerebellar Ataxias (NESSCA), SCA Functional Index (SCAFI), and Composite Cerebellar Functional Score (CCFS) were obtained from the symptomatic carriers. Serum was obtained from all individuals and a cytokine panel "consisted of" eotaxin, granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF), interferon (IFN)-α, IFN-γ, interleukin (IL)-1β, IL-1RA, IL-2, IL-2R, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-7, IL-8, IL-10, IL-12, IL-13, IL-15, IL-17, interferon gamma-induced protein (IP)-10, monocyte chemoattractant protein (MCP)-1, monokine induced by gamma interferon (MIG), macrophage inflammatory protein (MIP)-a, MIP-b, regulated on activation, normal T cell expressed and secreted (RANTES) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α was analyzed. In a subgroup of symptomatic carriers, the cytokine panel was repeated after 360 days. Cytokine distribution among groups was studied by discriminant analysis; changes in serum levels after 360 days were studied by generalized estimation equation. Sixty-six symptomatic carriers, 13 asymptomatic carriers, and 43 controls were studied. No differences in cytokine patterns were found between controls and carriers of the CAG expansions or between controls and symptomatic carriers only. In contrast, eotaxin concentrations were significantly higher in asymptomatic than in symptomatic carriers or in controls (p = 0.001, ANCOVA). Eotaxin did not correlate with age, disease duration, CAG expansion, NESSCA score, and SARA score. Among symptomatic carriers, eotaxin dropped after 360 days (p = 0.039, GEE). SCA3/MJD patients presented a benign pattern of serum cytokines. In contrast, levels of eotaxin, a peptide secreted by astrocytes, were elevated in the asymptomatic carriers, suggesting that a specific response of these cells can be related to symptom progression, in SCA3/MJD.

Keywords: Cytokines; Discriminant analysis; Eotaxin; Machado Joseph disease; Neuroprotection; Spinocerebellar ataxia type 3.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age of Onset
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • Cytokines / blood*
  • Disability Evaluation
  • Disease Progression
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Heterozygote
  • Humans
  • Machado-Joseph Disease / blood*
  • Machado-Joseph Disease / genetics
  • Male
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Time Factors
  • Trinucleotide Repeat Expansion


  • Biomarkers
  • Cytokines