In a study of 21 patients with Clinically Definite MS, the researchers sought to determine the ability of peripheral blood MonoNuclear Cells to produce Interferons and Lymphokines in response to Viral or Mitogenic stimulation.
In addition, the investigators performed white Blood count, Leukocyte differentiation and Lymphocyte subtyping. The study group included 10 patients in an acute episode of new disease activity, and 11 patients in a stable condition; 20 age-matched, healthy Blood donors served as a control group.
Patients and controls did not differ significantly in production of Interferon (IFN)-, Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF)-, and soluble InterLeukin (IL)-2 receptor.
However, there were significant differences seen in viral-induced production of IFN-: patients with stable disease produced significantly lower amounts of IFN- (P<.0001) as compared to controls and patients with disease activity.
Similar results were also seen in terms of viral-induced ß secretion. Further, both MS patient groups showed significantly diminished IL-2 secretion after stimulation as compared to controls (P<.01).
MS patients with stable disease were found to have significantly lower CD8+ T-Cell counts, resulting in a significantly higher CD4/CD8 ratio as compared to patients in an acute episode of disease activity (P<.03).
"Our study depicted an IL-2 deficiency in MS patients which is shared with other AutoImmune Diseases," the investigators wrote. "In addition, our findings suggest that the ability to produce type-I IFNs, IFN- and IFN-ß, is primarily impaired in MS patients and changes in correlation to the course of disease activity."
"We conclude that the selective Immunological abnormalities in MS patients provide the background for disease susceptibility, progression and exacerbation, possibly triggered by diverse exogenous factors, e.g. Viruses," wrote investigators.