Immunosuppression associated with measles virus (MV) can be demonstrated by cytokine production failure in subacute sclerosing panencephalitis (SSPE) and may have implications on the pathogenesis of the disease. Cytokines (IL-12, IL-10, IL-4, IL-17, IL-18, IFN-alpha, IFN-gamma) and chemokines (CXCL8, CXCL10, CCL2 and CCL5) were measured in the cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) and serum samples from 60 patients with SSPE, 36 patients with infectious and/or inflammatory (IN) and 28 with other non-inflammatory (NIN) neurological diseases by ELISA. IL-12 p70+p40 was elevated in CSF and sera of SSPE when compared to the NIN group. However, the CSF levels of IL-12 p70 alone were not increased, indicating an increase of p40. The CSF of SSPE patients also showed relatively higher levels of IL-10 than that of the NIN group. CXCL10 levels in CSF were significantly higher in SSPE, whereas CXCL8 was increased in sera compared to NIN. No difference was detected in IFN-gamma, IFN-alpha, IL-17, IL-18, IL-4 or CCL2 and CCL5 levels. These results demonstrate that immune response against MV in SSPE may be impaired, although some T cell/Th1 inducing stimulations are present. (c) 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.