Cerebrospinal fluid detection of interleukin-1β in phase of remission predicts disease progression in multiple sclerosis

Silvia Rossi, Valeria Studer, Caterina Motta, Giorgio Germani, Giulia Macchiarulo, Fabio Buttari, Raffaele Mancino, Maura Castelli, Valentina De Chiara, Sagit Weiss, Gianvito Martino, Roberto Furlan, Diego Centonze

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Absence of clinical and radiological activity in relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS) is perceived as disease remission. We explored the role of persisting inflammation during remission in disease evolution. Methods: Cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) levels of interleukin 1β (IL-1β), a major proinflammatory cytokine, were measured in 170 RRMS patients at the time of clinical and radiological remission. These patients were then followed up for at least 4 years, and clinical, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) measures of disease progression were recorded. Results: Median follow-up of RRMS patients was 5 years. Detection of CSF IL-1β levels at the time of remission did not predict earlier relapse or new MRI lesion formation. Detection of IL-1β in the CSF was instead associated with higher progression index (PI) and Multiple Sclerosis Severity Scale (MSSS) scores at follow-up, and the number of patients with sustained Expanded Disability Status Scale (EDSS) or Multiple Sclerosis Functional Composite worsening at follow-up was higher in individuals with detectable levels of IL-1β. Patients with undetectable IL-1β in the CSF had significantly lower PI and MSSS scores and a higher probability of having a benign MS phenotype. Furthermore, patients with undetectable CSF levels of IL-1β had less retinal nerve fiber layer thickness and macular volume alterations visualized by OCT compared to patients with detectable IL-1β. Conclusions: Our results suggest that persistence of a proinflammatory environment in RRMS patients during clinical and radiological remission influences midterm disease progression. Detection of IL-1β in the CSF at the time of remission appears to be a potential negative prognostic factor in RRMS patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number32
JournalJournal of Neuroinflammation
Publication statusPublished - Feb 18 2014


  • Cerebrospinal fluid
  • Cytokines
  • Disability
  • Inflammation
  • Neurodegeneration
  • Remission

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Neurology
  • Immunology
  • Neuroscience(all)


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