Recombinant human IL-6 suppresses demyelination in a viral model of multiple sclerosis

Moses Rodriguez, Kevin D. Pavelko, Christopher W. McKinney, Julian L. Leibowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


We used a murine model of multiple sclerosis (MS) induced by Theiler's murine encephalomyelitis virus (TMEV) to test the effect of IL-6 on central nervous system (CNS) demyelination. Administration of human rIL-6 (2.5 μg/dose), beginning one day before infection and then twice daily for 28 days, dramatically reduced demyelination and inflammation in the spinal cord of susceptible SJL/J mice. Benefit also was observed when rIL-6 was used as a therapeutic agent and begun on day 15 after infection, a time in which there is the first evidence of inflammation and demyelination in the spinal cord. Suppression of myelin damage by treatment with rIL-6 was associated with fewer virus Ag-positive cells in the spinal cord. Infectious CNS virus titers, as measured by plaque assay, were reduced in rIL-6-treated animals on day 15 after infection, but not on day 7, 22, or 29 after infection. Total serum Igs and virus-specific Igs, as detected by indirect ELISA, were increased markedly in rIL-6-treated mice, whereas no effect was observed on TMEV-neutralizing Ab titers. In vivo administration of rIL-6 inhibited a murine CNS-demyelinating disease induced by a virus, suggesting that this IL may have application for the treatment of human MS.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3811-3821
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 15 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology and Allergy
  • Immunology


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