Pregnancy has an ameliorating effect on multiple sclerosis (MS), but directly after delivery the risk of a relapse is increased. The pro-inflammatory chemokine interleukin 8 is associated with disease activity. We aimed to investigate whether pregnancy-induced fluctuations of interleukin 8 correlate with periods of enhanced and diminished disease activity. Thirty-six women with MS were prospectively studied before, during and after pregnancy. Serum levels of interleukin 8 were significantly decreased during the third trimester (p = 0.03). High first trimester serum levels of interleukin 8 were associated with a high risk of postpartum relapse (p = 0.007). These results help us to further understand the altered disease course during pregnancy.

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Keywords Autoimmunity, Chemokines, Pregnancy, Tolerance
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Neuteboom, R.F, Verbraak, E, Voerman, J.S, van Meurs, M, Steegers-Theunissen, R.P.M, de Groot, C.J.M, … Hintzen, R.Q. (2009). First trimester interleukin 8 levels are associated with postpartum relapse in multiple sclerosis. Multiple Sclerosis: clinical and laboratory research, 15(11), 1356–1358. doi:10.1177/1352458509107009