Circulating serum levels of IL-1ra in patients with relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis are normal during remission phases but significantly increased either during exacerbations or in response to IFN-β treatment

Ferdinando Nicoletti, Francesco Patti, Roberto Di Marco, Paola Zaccone, Alessandra Nicoletti, PierLuigi Meroni, Arturo Reggio

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Interleukin (IL)-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) is a naturally occurring inhibitor of IL-1 which binds to IL-1 receptors without generating immunologic responses. Evidence has recently been provided that the balance between the production of IL-1 and IL-1ra might influence the course of immunoinflammatory diseases such as inflammatory bowel diseases, rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and Lyme arthritis. To assess whether endogenous IL-1ra may also have a role on the course of multiple sclerosis (MS) we presently studied the fluctuation of the serum levels of IL-1ra in patients with relapsing remitting (RR) MS either during remission or exacerbation. Moreover, to evaluate whether the beneficial effect of IFN-β on the course of MS might also be mediated by an increased production of IL-1ra, we measured the levels of circulating IL-1ra in MS patients prior to and after 6 months of continuous treatment with natural human IFN-β (6 000 000 IU three times a week for 6 months). Our results demonstrated that, relative to control subjects, IL-1ra serum levels are 'normal' during remitting phases of RR MS but significantly elevated either during exacerbations or in response to IFN-β treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)395-400
Number of pages6
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - May 1996



  • Interferon
  • Interleukins
  • Interleukins 1 receptor antagonist
  • Multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Immunology
  • Immunology and Allergy

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