Changes in Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cells - Novel Evidence for an Immunomodulatory Aspect in Bell’s Palsy?

Stefan S. Kassner, Sarah Schoettler, Gabriel A. Bonaterra, Anne Faber, Karl Hormann, Ulrich R. Goessler, Ralf Kinscherf, Jens Stern-Straeter

Abstract


Background: Patients with Bell’s Palsy (BP): a very common neuropathy of the facial nerve-showed significant decreases of T- and B-lymphocytes in earlier studies. Besides a viral infection an autoimmune process leading to this disease has been discussed. 

Methods: 15 patients with BP and 15 healthy, age-matched individuals were included in this study. In addition to routine blood parameters peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) were isolated by Ficoll density gradient. Afterwards, in CD14+ (monocytes), CD68+ (macrophages), CD3+ (T-lymphocytes) or CD19+ (B-lymphocytes) the percentage of cells, expressing pro-inflammatory (CD40, TNF-α, and COX-2), pro-apoptotic (Caspase-3, PARP), pro-adhesive (CD38) and oxidative stress-related (MnSOD) proteins were measured by two-color fluorescence-activated cell sorter analyses. 

Results: In comparison to healthy individuals, patients with BP revealed significantly elevated plasma levels of C-reactive protein and total leukocyte count, while levels of T- and B-lymphocytes were significantly decreased. In BP patients all subpopulations under test showed a significant increase in percentage of CD38+ as well as of pro-inflammatory (CD40+, TNF-α+) cells; additionally monocytes showed a significant increase in percentage of MnSOD positive cells. 

Conclusions: Our data shows new evidence for an involvement of the immune system in BP. Therefore, we suggest that future investigations of PBMCs in BP patients represent a very promising approach to further elucidate possible pathomechanisms.




doi:10.4021/jnr108w


Keywords


Bell’s Palsy; Inflammation; CD40; TNF-α; PBMC; CRP; CD38; Adhesion; Lymphocytes

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