What causes pathogenic differences between acute disseminated encephalomyelitis (ADEM) and multiple sclerosis (MS)?

Updated: Nov 08, 2018
  • Author: J Nicholas Brenton, MD; Chief Editor: Tarakad S Ramachandran, MBBS, MBA, MPH, FAAN, FACP, FAHA, FRCP, FRCPC, FRS, LRCP, MRCP, MRCS  more...
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Pathogenic differences of MS and ADEM are likely to arise in part because of differences in details concerning pro-inflammatory and anti-inflammatory cytokines and chemokines. Interleukin (IL)–1beta, Il-2, IL-4, IL-5, IL-6, IL-8, IL-10, interferon (IFN)–gamma, tumor necrosis factor-alpha, and macrophage inflammatory protein-1-beta are significantly elevated in CSF compared with the CSF of controls. Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor shows a particularly striking elevation at as much as 38-fold greater concentration than is found in the CSF from control subjects. Elevations of IFN-gamma, IL-6, and IL-8 have been significantly correlated with CSF cell counts and protein concentration in individuals with ADEM. The pattern of cytokine elevation suggests that ADEM involves activation of macrophages, microglial cells, and various Th (T helper)–1 and Th2 cells. [3]

Additionally, in 2006, Franciotta et al demonstrated that adults with ADEM have higher CSF concentrations of chemokines that recruit or activate neutrophils (CXL1 and CXL7), monocytes (CCL3 and CCL5), Th1 cells (CXCL10), and Th2 cells (CCL1, CCL17, and CCL22) than healthy normal controls. [4] Moreover, ADEM-associated concentrations of certain of these neutrophils (CXL7 neutrophil activator and the CL1, CCL17, and CCL22 Th2 activators) are higher in the CSF from individuals with ADEM than those with MS. On the other hand, CSF concentrations of the chemokine CCL11 is lower in adults with MS than in the CSF from adults with ADEM or in normal controls.

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