Increased levels of soluble tumor necrosis factor receptor in patients with multiple sclerosis and HTLV-1-associated myelopathy

J Neuroimmunol. 1994 Jun;52(1):33-40. doi: 10.1016/0165-5728(94)90159-7.


Tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNF-alpha) is a potent mediator produced by activated T lymphocytes and macrophages, which may play a role in the pathogenesis and development of multiple sclerosis (MS) and HTLV-1-associated myelopathy (HAM). The first step in the induction of many biological effects elicited by TNF-alpha is its binding to specific cell surface receptors. A soluble form of TNF receptor (sTNF-R) can be detected in the body fluid. We measured sTNF-R levels in the sera and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of patients with either MS or HAM, and evaluated the correlation between this mediator and disease activity. The levels of sTNF-R in the sera and CSF of patients with MS were significantly increased compared with controls, particularly patients with acute relapsing MS during an exacerbation (P < 0.001). CSF levels of sTNF-R showed a strong correlation with those of TNF (r = 0.716, P < 0.001). Higher levels of sTNF-R in the sera of HAM patients were detected as compared with those of either controls (P < 0.001) or non-HAM carriers (P < 0.001). Patients with HAM exhibited significantly higher CSF levels of sTNF-R than those with other neurological diseases (P < 0.0001). These results suggest that the detection of sTNF-R in the sera and CSF may predict disease progression. Availability of such a marker would be useful in monitoring disease activity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis / blood
  • Multiple Sclerosis / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Multiple Sclerosis / metabolism*
  • Paraparesis, Tropical Spastic / blood
  • Paraparesis, Tropical Spastic / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Paraparesis, Tropical Spastic / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor / analysis*
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha / analysis


  • Receptors, Tumor Necrosis Factor
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha