Soluble IL-2RA Levels in Multiple Sclerosis Subjects and the Effect of Soluble IL-2RA on Immune Responses

Division of Molecular Immunology, Center for Neurologic Diseases, Department of Neurology, Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02115, USA.
The Journal of Immunology (Impact Factor: 4.92). 03/2009; 182(3):1541-7. DOI: 10.4049/jimmunol.182.3.1541
Source: PubMed


Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an organ-specific autoimmune disorder that is in part genetically determined. The gene encoding the alpha-chain of the IL-2 receptor, IL2RA, harbors alleles associated with risk to MS and other autoimmune diseases. In addition, IL2RA genetic variants correlate with the levels of a soluble form of the IL-2 receptor in subjects with type 1 diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Here, we show that the IL2RA genotypes differentially affects soluble IL-2RA (sIL-2RA) levels in MS cases vs healthy controls; the two variants associated with MS (rs12722489 and rs2104286) account for 15 and 18% of the total variance in log(10)-transformed sIL-2RA concentration in control subjects but less so in subjects with MS (2 and 5%), suggesting that perturbations associated with disease or treatment may influence sIL-2RA levels in subjects with MS. Whereas analyses demonstrate that sIL-2RA serum concentrations are a remarkably stable phenotype in both healthy controls and untreated MS subjects, a difference is observed between benign and malignant MS. These data indicate that, in addition to specific allelic variants at IL2RA, immunological perturbations associated with aggressive forms of the disease can influence sIL-2RA levels in serum of MS subjects. We also demonstrate, functionally, that sIL-2RA can inhibit IL-2 signaling, yet enhance T cell proliferation and expansion. In summary, we propose that before disease onset, strong genetic factors associated with disease risk dictate sIL-2RA levels that may be further modulated with onset of chronic systemic inflammation associated with MS.

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