Multiple sclerosis is associated with high levels of circulating dendritic cells secreting pro-inflammatory cytokines

Y M Huang, B G Xiao, V Ozenci, M Kouwenhoven, N Teleshova, S Fredrikson, H Link

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Recent evidence emphasises a pivotal role for dendritic cells (DC) in the control of immunity by priming and tolerising T cells. DC capture and process antigens, express co-stimulatory molecules, migrate to lymphoid organs and secrete cytokines to initiate immune responses. In multiple sclerosis (MS), autoreactive T cells are proposed to play a pathogenic role by secreting pro-inflammatory cytokines, but studies on DC are lacking. To evaluate the involvement of DC in patients with MS, a modified procedure was used to prepare DC from blood of patients with MS and healthy subjects. DC were found to be potent stimulators of T cells in allogeneic and, to a lesser extent, in autologous mixed leukocyte reaction (MLR). Enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assays were adopted to determine levels of IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, IL-6 and IL-10 secreting DC vs. mononuclear cells (MNC). Proportionally more DC than MNC secreted IFN-gamma and IL-10 in both MS and healthy subjects. Patients with MS had higher levels of IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha and IL-6 secreting DC than healthy subjects. The differences for IFN-gamma and TNF-alpha secreting cells were confined to the subgroup of untreated MS patients and not observed in the subgroup examined during ongoing treatment with IFN-beta. Circulating DC secreting pro-inflammatory cytokines may represent another focus for the study of both immuno-pathogenesis and therapeutic interventions in MS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)82-90
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Neuroimmunology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sept 1999


  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases/blood
  • Cytokines/blood
  • Dendritic Cells/secretion
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interferon-gamma/blood
  • Interleukin-10/blood
  • Interleukin-6/blood
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Lymphocyte Culture Test, Mixed
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiple Sclerosis/blood
  • T-Lymphocytes/immunology
  • Tumor Necrosis Factor-alpha/analysis

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