Adhesion molecules are likely to play a critical role in the immunopathogenesis of multiple sclerosis (MS). The interaction of vascular cell adhesion molecule-1 (VCAM-1) with its lymphocyte ligand very late antigen-4 (VLA-4) may mediate migration of lymphocytes into the CNS. We have previously demonstrated that MS patients treated with interferon beta (IFN- β) have a significant increase in soluble VCAM-1 (sVCAM-1) soon after the initiation of treatment, and this effect correlated with the resolution of contrast-enhancing MRI lesions. We studied the cell surface expression of VLA-4 by flow cytometry in 10 MS patients before and during IFN-β treatment. We found a significant decrease in mean VLA-4 fluorescence of MS patients' lymphocytes on treatment and no change in untreated controls. In vitro treatment of lymphocytes with IFN-β did not reproduce this effect, but the addition of sVCAM-1 did result in a decrease in VLA-4 expression. These data indicate that the previously identified increase in sVCAM-1 may lead to a decrease in VLA-4 expression and that this effect may partially explain the mechanism of action of IFN-β.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology