Commentary Open Access
Volume 5 | Issue 1 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.33696/rehabilitation.5.036

The Interplay of Interferon-Beta, Cobalamin, and MicroRNA Regulation in Multiple Sclerosis Therapy

  • 1Department of Immunology, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran
+ Affiliations - Affiliations

*Corresponding Author

Alireza Andalib, andalib@med.mui.ac.ir

Received Date: June 11, 2023

Accepted Date: July 14, 2023


miRNAs, Multiple sclerosis, Interferon-Beta, Cobalamin


Multiple Sclerosis (MS), a chronic inflammatory demyelinating disease of the central nervous system, is a complex disorder affecting millions globally, which necessitates innovative therapeutic strategies [1]. In the quest for novel treatments, we have conducted a recent study that has provided crucial insights into the potential synergistic effects of interferon-beta (IFN-β) and cobalamin (Vitamin B12) in MS therapy, targeting interleukin-10 (IL-10), osteopontin (OPN), and specific microRNAs (miR-106a, let-7c, and miR-146a] [2,3]. This comprehensive exploration has added a substantial layer of understanding to the field of MS therapeutics, elucidating the potential role of cobalamin as a viable adjuvant to established IFN-β therapy.

Current MS treatment strategies primarily involve agents like IFN-β, glatiramer acetate, and corticosteroids, which, though effective, pose considerable challenges including side effects, immune suppression, and, for some, limited clinical efficacy [4,5]. Furthermore, IFN-β therapy does not significantly affect IL-10, an anti-inflammatory cytokine crucial in the prevention of autoimmunity and the maintenance of immune homeostasis [6]. The introduction of cobalamin as an adjuvant therapy offers a promising direction, given its essential role in neurological function and myelin formation, and its purported minimal side effects [7].

A salient finding in this study is the differential impact of IFN-β and B12 combination therapy on miR-106a and let-7c, both of which have previously been implicated in inflammation and autoimmune responses [2,3]. Cobalamin notably decreases miR-106a expression, resulting in enhanced IL-10 levels, and consequently reducing pro-inflammatory cytokines such as IL-17, IL-22, and TNF-α. This suggests that cobalamin could induce an overall decrease in systemic inflammation, which could potentially mitigate the inflammatory lesions characteristic of MS.

Simultaneously, cobalamin has been found to enhance the expression of let-7c, a regulator of various cytokines and signalling pathways. Upregulated let-7c could effectively reduce Th17 cells and cytokines such as IL-1, IL-6, and TNF-α, further modulating the inflammatory response. While the study highlights significant changes in miR-106a and let-7c expression in combination therapy, it also acknowledges the absence of a direct correlation between these miRNAs and IL-10 levels. This implies the presence of additional regulatory factors involved in the modulation of IL-10 expression, thus calling for further exploration into the complex regulatory mechanisms underlying MS.

Another pivotal finding is the role of cobalamin and IFN-β in regulating OPN, a cytokine with established roles in T-cell activation and Th1 cell differentiation. The study demonstrates a significant decrease in OPN expression following the administration of either IFN-β alone or in combination with B12, with the reduction being more pronounced in the latter case. This, combined with the notable increase in miR-146a expression (known to influence pathways such as NF-κB and promote Th2 cells and anti-inflammatory cytokines), bolsters the hypothesis of cobalamin as a significant adjunct in MS therapy. Intriguingly, despite the significant modulation of OPN and miR-146a, there was no direct correlation between these factors, adding further complexity to the intricate network of inflammatory regulation in MS.

The implications of these findings are far-reaching, suggesting a potential reconfiguration of MS treatment paradigms to include cobalamin as an adjunctive treatment to IFN-β. However, more extensive research is warranted to fully comprehend the multifaceted interplay of cytokines and miRNAs in MS and to validate the long-term clinical benefits of this therapeutic strategy in a broader MS patient population. As we delve further into the molecular intricacies of MS, studies such as these underscore the importance of adopting multimodal approaches in the battle against this complex disease, offering renewed hope for the millions afflicted worldwide.


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