Journal of Neurology

, Volume 251, Supplement 2, pp ii10–ii14

Biologic role of interferon beta in multiple sclerosis

  • Alfons Billiau
  • Bernd C. Kieseier
  • Hans-Peter Hartung

DOI: 10.1007/s00415-004-1203-8

Cite this article as:
Billiau, A., Kieseier, B.C. & Hartung, HP. J Neurol (2004) 251: ii10. doi:10.1007/s00415-004-1203-8


The mode of action of interferon-beta (IFNβ) as a therapeutic agent for multiple sclerosis is still insufficiently elucidated. Of the known immunomodulatory effects of IFNβ, those that seem important are its [1] effects on the production of cytokines by T helper lymphocytes, [2] antagonistic effect against some of the proinflammatory and immunoregulatory effects of IFNγ, [3] inhibitory effect on resistance of T lymphocytes to apoptotic signals, [4] inhibitory effect on the production of matrix metalloproteases, and [5] modulatory effect on the expression of adhesion molecules and chemokines. The relative importance of each of these actions is presently unknown, and still other actions of IFNβ may be at play. The possibility that therapeutic IFNβ compensates for a lack of endogenous IFNβ production is discussed.

Key words

multiple sclerosisinterferon betaimmunoregulation

Copyright information

© Steinkopff Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alfons Billiau
    • 1
    • 3
  • Bernd C. Kieseier
    • 2
  • Hans-Peter Hartung
    • 2
  1. 1.Rega InstituteUniversity of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium
  2. 2.Department of NeurologyHeinrich-Heine UniversitätDüsseldorfGermany
  3. 3.Rega InstituteUniversity of LeuvenLeuvenBelgium