Cerebrospinal fluid levels of iodothyronines and nerve growth factor in patients with multiple sclerosis and neuromyelitis optica.

OBJECTIVE: Multiple sclerosis (MS) is an inflammatory demyelinating disease of the human central nervous system (CNS) and a major cause of neurological disability among adults in North America and Europe. Neuromyelitis optica (NMO) is a very severe disease of inflammatory demyelination located in the optic chiasm, nerves and the spinal cord. The aim of this study is to assess thyroid hormone (TH) and nerve growth factor (NGF) levels in cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) of MS, NMO patients and controls, and investigate whether there is any correlation between TH and NGF levels in the CSF.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: 38 relapsing-remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS), 10 NMO and 19 controls were investigated whether there was any correlation between TH and NGF levels in the CSF.

RESULTS: MS and NMO patients exhibited significantly higher CSF NGF (respectively P<0.05, P<0.05), TT4 levels (P<0.001) and higher TT4/ rT3 ratio (respectively P<0.01, P<0.01) compared with the controls. Significant correlation was found between CSF NGF levels and CSF rT3 levels or TT4/ rT3 ratio in controls (respectively P<0.01, P<0.05). EDSS was significantly correlated with CSF rT3 levels and TT4/ rT3 ratio in MS patients (respectively P<0.05, P<0.001).

CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that an abnormal thyroid hormone may exist within the brain in the patients with MS. CSF rT3 levels and TT4/ rT3 ratio could be regarded as useful markers of underlying disease activity.

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