Multiple sclerosis: a study of chemokine receptors and regulatory T cells in relation to MRI variables

P Putheti, M Morris, L Stawiarz, N Teleshova, P Kivisäkk, M Pashenkov, M Kouwenhoven, M K Wiberg, L Bronge, Y-M Huang, M Söderström, J Hillert, H Link

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Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) remains the most valuable tool for monitoring disease activity and progression in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic demyelinating disease of the central nervous system (CNS) with presumably autoimmune etiology. Chemokine receptors have been implicated in MS as key molecules directing inflammatory cells into the CNS. Regulatory (CD4+CD25+) T cells (Tr cells) are important in suppressing autoimmunity, and their absolute or functional deficit could be expected in MS. In the present study, venous blood was obtained from MS patients concurrent with MRI examination of the brain, and expression of chemokine receptors CCR1, CCR2, CCR5, CXCR3 and CXCR4 by CD4 T cells and monocytes, proportions of Tr cells, as well as expression of CD45RO, CD95, CTLA-4, HLA-DR and interleukin (IL)-10 by Tr cells and non-Tr (CD25-) CD4 T cells was analyzed by flow cytometry. Surface expression of CXCR3 by CD4 T cells was downregulated in the group of patients with high lesion load (LL) on T2-weighted images and gadolinium (Gd)-enhancing lesions on T1-weighted images, compared to the group with high LL and no Gd-enhancing lesions, and to the group with low LL, suggesting internalization of CXCR3 due to the release of its chemokine ligand (IP-10/CXCL10) from active MS lesions. Proportions of Tr cells amongst all CD4 T cells, and expression of IL-10 by Tr cells were increased in the patients with high LL and Gd-enhancing lesions. These results suggest that there is correlation between MRI parameters, chemokine receptor expression and the status of circulating Tr cells in MS, but further studies need to discriminate between pathogenetically relevant and bystander phenomena.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)529-35
Number of pages7
JournalEuropean journal of neurology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2003


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging/methods
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis/blood
  • Receptors, Chemokine/blood
  • Statistics, Nonparametric
  • T-Lymphocytes/metabolism

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