Potential role of IL-13 in neuroprotection and cortical excitability regulation in multiple sclerosis

S. Rossi, R. Mancino, A. Bergami, F. Mori, M. Castelli, V. De Chiara, V. Studer, G. Mataluni, G. Sancesario, V. Parisi, H. Kusayanagi, G. Bernardi, C. Nucci, S. Bernardini, G. Martino, R. Furlan, D. Centonze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Inflammation triggers secondary neurodegeneration in multiple sclerosis (MS).Objectives: It is unclear whether classical anti-inflammatory cytokines have the potential to interfere with synaptic transmission and neuronal survival in MS. Methods: Correlation analyses between cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) contents of anti-inflammatory cytokines and molecular, imaging, clinical, and neurophysiological measures of neuronal alterations were performed. Results: Our data suggest that interleukin-13 (IL-13) plays a neuroprotective role in MS brains. We found, in fact, that the levels of IL-13 in the CSF of MS patients were correlated with the contents of amyloid-β1-42. Correlations were also found between IL-13 and imaging indexes of axonal and neuronal integrity, such as the retinal nerve fibre layer thickness and the macular volume evaluated by optical coherence tomography. Furthermore, the levels of IL-13 were related to better performance in the low-contrast acuity test and Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite scoring. Finally, by means of transcranial magnetic stimulation, we have shown that GABAA-mediated cortical inhibition was more pronounced in patients with high IL-13 levels in the CSF, as expected for a neuroprotective, anti-excitotoxic effect. Conclusions: The present correlation study provides some evidence for the involvement of IL-13 in the modulation of neuronal integrity and synaptic function in patients with MS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1301-1312
Number of pages12
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • amyloid-β
  • inflammation
  • neurodegeneration
  • optical coherence tomography
  • TMS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology


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