Loss of circulating CD8+ CD161high T cells in primary progressive multiple sclerosis

Massimo Acquaviva, Claudia Bassani, Nicole Sarno, Gloria Dalla Costa, Marzia Romeo, Francesca Sangalli, Bruno Colombo, Lucia Moiola, Vittorio Martinelli, Giancarlo Comi, Cinthia Farina

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Recent evidence suggests that the primary progressive form of multiple sclerosis (PP-MS) may present with specific immunological alterations. In this study we focused our attention on CD161, an NK and T cell marker upregulated in relapsing-remitting MS, and investigated its transcript and protein levels in blood cells from PP-MS and healthy individuals. We demonstrated transcriptional downregulation of CD161 in PP-MS and described concomitant mRNA reduction for RORgt, CCR6, CXCR6, KLRK1/NKG2D and many other markers typical of mucosa associated invariant T (MAIT) cells. Targeted multiparametric flow cytometry on fresh blood cells from an independent cohort of case-control subjects confirmed the selective loss of circulating CD8 CD161high T cells, which consist mainly of MAIT cells, and not of CD8 CD161int T cells in PP-MS. These data demonstrate alterations in a specific circulating immune cell subset in MS patients with progressive onset.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1922
JournalFrontiers in Immunology
Issue numberAUG
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Blood
  • CD161
  • CD8
  • MAIT cells
  • Progressive multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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