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Innate immunity impacts social-cognitive functioning in people with multiple sclerosis and healthy individuals: Implications for IL-1ra and urinary immune markers


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Turner, JA ORCID: 0000-0002-2816-4459, Padgett, C ORCID: 0000-0003-4398-4268, McDonald, S, Ahuja, KDK ORCID: 0000-0002-0323-4692, Francis, HM, Lim, CK and Honan, CA ORCID: 0000-0001-5735-4270 2021 , 'Innate immunity impacts social-cognitive functioning in people with multiple sclerosis and healthy individuals: Implications for IL-1ra and urinary immune markers' , Brain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health, vol. 14 , pp. 1-12 , doi: 10.1016/j.bbih.2021.100254.

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Social-cognitive difficulties can negatively impact interpersonal communication, shared social experience, andmeaningful relationships. This pilot investigation examined the relationship between social-cognitive functioningand inflammatory markers in people with multiple sclerosis (MS) and demographically-matched healthy individuals. Additionally, we compared the immune marker profile in serum and urine-matched samples. Socialcognitive functioning was objectively assessed using The Awareness of Social Inference Test – Short (TASIT-S) andsubjectively assessed using self-reports of abilities in emotion recognition, emotional empathy, and cognitivetheory of mind. In people with MS and healthy individuals, there were moderate-to-large negative relationshipsbetween pro-inflammatory biomarkers (serum IL-1β, IL-17, TNF-α, IP-10, MIP-1α, and urine IP-10, MIP-1β) of theinnate immune system and social-cognitive functioning. In MS, a higher serum concentration of the antiinflammatory marker IL-1ra was associated with better social-cognitive functioning (i.e., self-reportedemotional empathy and TASIT-S sarcasm detection performance). However, there were mixed findings foranti-inflammatory serum markers IL-4 and IL-10. Overall, our findings indicate a relationship between proinflammatory cytokines and social-cognitive abilities. Future studies may provide greater insight intobiologically-derived inflammatory processes, sickness behaviour, and their connection with social cognition.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Turner, JA and Padgett, C and McDonald, S and Ahuja, KDK and Francis, HM and Lim, CK and Honan, CA
Keywords: multiple sclerosis, social cognition, inflammation, TASIT-S, Theory of Mind, Emotion perception, Sarcasm, Emotional empathy, sickness behaviour, Innate immunity
Journal or Publication Title: Brain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health
Publisher: Elsevier Inc.
ISSN: 2666-3546
DOI / ID Number: 10.1016/j.bbih.2021.100254
Copyright Information:

© 2021 The Author(s). Published by Elsevier Inc. This is an open access article under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) license (

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