Interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) was measured in the CSF of neurological patients using a highly specific and sensitive immunoradiometric assay. It was detected in 52% of patients presenting as suspected meningitis or encephalitis and in 83% with proven viral meningitis. In contrast IFN-gamma was detected in only 26% of patients who did not have an acute infection at the time of presentation. Only 15% of patients with multiple sclerosis had detectable CSF IFN-gamma. The presence of IFN-gamma in CSF in response to acute viral infections of the central nervous system may be of importance in relation to the pathophysiology of immunologically mediated neurological disorders.
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