Th17 cells: A prognostic marker for MS rebound after natalizumab cessation?

Mult Scler. 2017 Jan;23(1):114-118. doi: 10.1177/1352458516640609. Epub 2016 Jul 11.


Background: Multiple sclerosis (MS) patients are at risk of renewed disease activity after discontinuing natalizumab (NAT) treatment.

Objective: Assessing the implication of T helper 17 (Th17) cells in MS reactivation after NAT cessation.

Methods: We monitored frequencies of Th17 cells and interleukin (IL)-17 cytokine levels in blood samples of 57 MS patients, without, during, and after NAT exposure.

Results: Frequencies of both Th17 cells and, in part, also IL-17 levels, in peripheral blood increased under prolonged NAT therapy, returned to baseline after NAT withdrawal and became almost undetectable in blood samples of individuals who experienced relapses during the wash-out phase.

Conclusion: Assessing the Th17-cell/IL-17 axis might help to predict rebound MS activity after NAT withdrawal.

Keywords: Multiple sclerosis; Th17 effector T cells; natalizumab; rebound effect; wash-out phase.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interleukin-17 / metabolism
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / diagnosis*
  • Multiple Sclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Natalizumab / pharmacology*
  • Prognosis
  • Recurrence
  • Th17 Cells / cytology*
  • Th17 Cells / drug effects
  • Young Adult


  • IL17A protein, human
  • Interleukin-17
  • Natalizumab