Further Evidence That the Cytokine GM-CSF is an Essential Factor in the Pathogenesis of Multiple Sclerosis

GM CSF and multiple sclerosis

Rasouli et al., published in the June 1st issue of the Journal of Immunology reports that treatment-naive MS patients had greater numbers of GM-CSF+ T cells in the peripheral blood, whereas CD4+ and CD8+ T cells in MS brain lesions expressed GM-CSF. In addition, interferon (INF)-β suppressed GM-CSF production by T cells, in vitro conditions.

According to the authors their observations suggest that the greater frequency of GM-CSF–producing T cells may contribute to MS immune pathogenesis, or on the other hand, this may represent only an epiphenomenon of abnormally activated immune cells in MS.

Recent multiple sclerosis (MS) research in animal models showed an important role of granulocyte macrophage colony-stimulating factor (GM-CSF). This new study using human samples, by Javad Rasouli and co-workers from the Department of Neurology, Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, further reinforces the role of GM-CSF.

We have recently discussed that GM-CSF-producing CD4+ T cells regulated by the IL-7-STAT5 signaling axis may play a critical role in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis.

The study may also offer a new explanation for why the INF-β treatment is effective in MS – that is the suppression of GM-CSF production by IFN.

Source: J Immunol. 2015, 194: 5085-5093. Epub 2015 Apr 27.
Read more: jimmunol.org