Interleukin-12p40 in the spinal fluid as a biomarker for clinically isolated syndrome

This study looked at an array of biomarkers in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of people with a clinical presentation suspected of MS in order to recognise potential early diagnostic markers. In total the study included 115 people who presented with neurological symptoms suggestive of MS: 49 with clinically isolated syndrome, 29 with relapsing-remitting MS (RRMS) and 37 other neurological disorders (OND). A total of 30 proteins were measured in the CSF.

They found that high levels of IL12p40 (Interleukin -12 subunit p40) in the CSF of people with neurological symptoms suggestive of MS were found to be a strong predictor for the diagnosis of CIS. They also found higher levels of IL12p40 in the RRMS group suggesting that IL12p40 is a marker of the ongoing disease process in MS in both the initial and later phases of the disease. IL-12 is involved in regulating the balance between type 1 T helper cells (Th1) and type 2 T helper cells (Th2), promoting Th1 responses in reply to antigenic stimulation. There were no associations found between with disease activity or severity measures.

Therefore this study demonstrates an increased IL12p40 level in the CSF of people with MS and has the potential as an early biomarker during the diagnostic process in MS.

Authors: Orbach R, Gurevich M

Sources: Mult Scler. 2013 May 30. [Epub ahead of print]

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