Interleukin 7 alterations another potential mechanism of action

Lundström W, Hermanrud C, Sjöstrand M, Brauner S, Wahren-Herlenius M, Olsson T, Karrenbauer V, Hillert J, Fogdell-Hahn A. Interferon beta treatment of multiple sclerosis increases serum interleukin-7. Mult Scler. 2014 May. [Epub ahead of print]

BACKGROUND:Interleukin-7 (IL-7) is a non-redundant cytokine for T-cell development and survival. The IL-7 signaling pathway has been genetically and functionally associated with several autoimmune diseases including multiple sclerosis (MS).
OBJECTIVE: The objective of this paper is to elucidate the effect of the widely used immunomodulatory MS therapy interferon beta (IFNβ) on IL-7 production.
METHODS: Swedish MS patients were screened for IL-7 concentration in serum and blood cell counts. IL-7 receptor alpha chain (IL-7Rα) expression was determined by semi-quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and flow cytometry.
RESULTS:IFNβ treatment led to significantly increased serum IL-7 levels (mean: 17 pg/ml) compared with healthy controls (mean: 7.6 pg/ml) and natalizumab-treated patients (mean: 5.3 pg/ml). In vitro and in vivo, peripheral blood leucocytes showed decreased IL-7Rα expression and IL-7 consumption upon IFNβ exposure, suggesting that their IL-7 responsiveness is impaired during treatment.
CONCLUSIONS: MS patients undergoing IFNβ treatment have increased serum IL-7 levels and decreased IL-7 consumption. Given IL-7’s important role in T-cell immunity, this relationship may be highly relevant for IFNβ’s treatment efficacy. 


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