JOURNAL OF IMMUNOLOGY, vol.175, no.3, pp.2018-2025, 2005 (SCI-Expanded)
In myasthenia gravis (MG), TNF and IL-10 polymorphisms and high serum levels of these proinflammatory cytokines have been observed. Likewise, TNF and IL-1 beta are critical for the activation of acetylcholine receptor (AChR)-specific T and B cells and for the development of experimental autoimmune myasthenia gravis (EAMG) induced by AChR immunization. We tested the therapeutic effect of human recombinant IL-1 receptor antagonist (IL-1ra) in C57BL/6 mice with EAMG. Multiple daily injections of 0.01 mg of IL-Ira administered for 2 wk following two AChR immunizations decreased the incidence and severity of clinical EAMG. Furthermore, IL-1ra treatment of mice with ongoing clinical EAMG reduced the clinical symptoms of disease. The IL-1ra-mediated suppression of clinical disease was associated with suppressed serum IFN-gamma, TNF-alpha, IL-1 beta, IL-2, IL-6, C3, and anti-AChR IgG1 without influencing total serum IgG. Therefore, IL-Ira could be used as a nonsteroidal drug for the treatment of MG.