LindaR wrote:What wondering if anyone knew whether or not Avonex is an immunosupressant.
Alexandra is correct. Avonex is an immunomodulator. Its benefits in MS purportedly stem from inducing a shift in the immune cells that are activated. Th cells are T helper cells. Avonex induces a shift from Th1 to Th2. Different cytokines are associated with Th1 and Th2. For example, interferon-gamma is a Th1 cytokine and is known to make MS worse. This page offers a brief summary of the different cytokines associated with Th1 and Th2 cells. http://sprojects.mmi.mcgill.ca/immunology/Th1&Th2.htm
There is also a statement at the bottom of the page which is probably worth quoting...
Different cytokines activate different arms of the immune system. Th1 cytokines activate macrophages, NK cells, and cell mediate immunity (CMI), plus the secretion of certain Ig isotypes. Th2 cytokines tend to favor isotype switching in the humoral (antibody) immune response. In addition, Th2 cytokines depress macrophage activation and CMI.
I hope that this is helpful.