Cerebrospinal fluid interleukin 6 in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis: immunological parameter and comparison with inflammatory and non-inflammatory central nervous system diseases

J Neurol Sci. 1998 Feb 5;154(2):194-9. doi: 10.1016/s0022-510x(97)00228-1.


We assayed IL-6 in 105 cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples from patients with ALS, MS, HTLV-1 associated myelopathy (HAM), and controls. There was considerable overlap in IL-6 levels in all patient groups. The mean IL-6 in 27 patients with ALS was significantly higher than in 21 patients in the other neurological disease (OND) group (P=0.0075). There were no significant differences in MS or HAM and the OND control group. Overall, CSF IL-6 correlated with protein concentration but not with percentage IgG or IgG-albumin index. Patients with CSF oligoclonal bands were no more likely to have detectable IL-6 than patients without oligoclonal bands. Similarly, IL-6 did not correlate with clinical disease activity in MS when subgroups of patients were compared or when an individual patient was followed over time. The elevated IL-6 in ALS may reflect an ongoing humoral immune response, or IL-6 may be non-specifically expressed in these patients as a putative neurotrophic factor in response to nerve cell degeneration.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Comparative Study
  • Controlled Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis / immunology
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Central Nervous System Diseases / immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Inflammation / immunology
  • Interleukin-6 / cerebrospinal fluid*
  • Logistic Models
  • Multiple Sclerosis / cerebrospinal fluid
  • Paraparesis, Tropical Spastic / cerebrospinal fluid


  • Interleukin-6