Pro-inflammatory adiponectin in pediatric-onset multiple sclerosis

Mukanthu H. Nyirenda, Giulia Fadda, Luke M. Healy, Ina Mexhitaj, Laurence Poliquin-Lasnier, Heather Hanwell, Alexander W. Saveriano, Ayal Rozenberg, Rui Li, Craig S. Moore, Chahrazed Belabani, Trina Johnson, Julia O’Mahony, Douglas L. Arnold, E. Ann Yeh, Ruth Ann Marrie, Shannon Dunn, Brenda Banwell, Amit Bar-Or;

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Being obese is associated with both increased risk of developing multiple sclerosis (MS) and greater MS disease activity. Objectives: The objective of this study is to investigate levels and potential pathophysiologic contribution of serum adipose-hormones (adipokines) in pediatric-onset MS. Methods: Following a Luminex adipokine screen, adiponectin (APN) and its isoforms were quantified by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) in 169 children with incident acquired demyelinating syndromes (ADS), prospectively ascertained as having either MS or other forms of inflammatory central nervous system (CNS) demyelination. The effect of recombinant APN and APN-containing sera was assessed on functional responses of normal human peripheral blood myeloid and T cells and on human CNS-derived microglia. Results: Compared to other cohorts, children with MS harbored higher serum APN levels, principally driven by higher levels of the low-molecular-weight isoform. Recombinant APN and pediatric MS serum-induced APN-dependent pro-inflammatory activation of CD14+ monocytes and of activated CD4+ and CD8+ T cells (both directly and indirectly through myeloid cells). APN induced human microglia activation while inhibiting their expression of molecules associated with quiescence. Conclusions: Elevated APN levels in children with MS may contribute to enhanced pro-inflammatory states of innate and adaptive peripheral immune responses and breach CNS-resident microglia quiescence, providing a plausible and potentially targetable mechanism by which APN contributes to MS disease activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1948-1959
Number of pages12
JournalMultiple Sclerosis Journal
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • adipokines
  • adiponectin
  • immune responses
  • Multiple sclerosis
  • myelin oligodendrocyte glycoprotein
  • pediatric multiple sclerosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology


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