Decreased Tumor Necrosis Factor Binding With Interferon-ß In Multiple Sclerosis

Paolo Bongioanni, MD, PhD; Serena Mosti, MD; Gianluca Moscato, MD; Francesco Lombardo, MD; Chiara Manildo, MD; Giuseppe Meucci, MD
Arch Neurol Jan. 1999;56:71-78

To investigate the effects of Interferon beta treatment on T-Cell Tumor Necrosis Factor (TNF-) binding (which is a possible marker for T-Cell-dependent Immune Function) in patients with Multiple Sclerosis.

The TNF- binding on T-Lymphocytes from patients with stable Relapsing/Remitting Multiple Sclerosis was assayed before and 3 and 6 months after the start of treatment with Interferon-ß.

The study was performed on ambulatory patients in a tertiary care center.

Eighteen patients with clinically definite stable Relapsing/Remitting Multiple Sclerosis (13 women and 5 men; mean [ SD] age, 32.6 7.1 years) were selected consecutively. Clinical status was defined according to the Expanded Disability Status Scale.

All patients were treated with 8 106 U of Interferon-ß-1b subcutaneously every other day. Eighteen age and sex matched healthy subjects, with no family history of NeuroPsychiatric disorders, served as controls.


  • T-Lymphocytes from untreated patients with Multiple Sclerosis had significantly more TNF- receptors than those from controls (mean SE, 837 33 vs 135 5 receptors per cell).

  • After 3 months of treatment with Interferon-ß-1b, they showed a significant decrease (P<.001) in TNF- binding (452 29 receptors per cell).

  • After 6 months, T-Cell TNF- maximal receptor numbers were even lower (345 35 receptors per cell).

Given that increased TNF- binding might be linked to Lymphocyte activation, our data demonstrate that a major effect of Interferon-ß-1b treatment is to decrease T-Cell activation.

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