An immune system messenger molecule, protein interkeukin-27 (IL-27), helped block the onset or reverse symptoms in animals with a multiple sclerosis-like disease, report researchers.
The investigators previously observed that IL-27 could suppress IL-17 and inflammation. They also knew that in other MS models, mice that lacked receptors for IL-27 developed excessive inflammation.
The team used a mouse model of MS called experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis. When they gave the mice IL-27, the disease was reportedly suppressed. They saw similar effects from IL-27 in cultured cells that were transferred into naïve animals. At the same time, the group also showed that IL-27 enhanced the production of IL-10, a crucial anti-inflammatory cytokine.
“We think that one of the ways that recovery from a disease flare-up occurs is that part of the immune system is shut off, suppressing the immune response in the brain,” notes study leader, Abdolmohamad Rostami, M.D., Ph.D., who is also professor and chair of the department of neurology at Jefferson Medical College. “IL-27 appears to be crucial in this process.”
The Thomas Jefferson University team was helped by Amgen. The findings were reproted in the November 11 issue of Nature Immunology.