University of Tasmania
144933 - Innate immunity impacts social cognitive functioning.pdf (1.83 MB)

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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journal contribution
posted on 2023-05-21, 00:05 authored by Jason Turner, Christine PadgettChristine Padgett, S McDonald, Kiran AhujaKiran Ahuja, Francis, HM, Lim, CK, Cynthia HonanCynthia Honan
Social-cognitive difficulties can negatively impact interpersonal communication, shared social experience, and meaningful relationships. This pilot investigation examined the relationship between social-cognitive functioning and 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. Social cognitive functioning was objectively assessed using The Awareness of Social Inference Test – Short (TASIT-S) and subjectively assessed using self-reports of abilities in emotion recognition, emotional empathy, and cognitive theory of mind. In people with MS and healthy individuals, there were moderate-to-large negative relationships between pro-inflammatory biomarkers (serum IL-1β, IL-17, TNF-α, IP-10, MIP-1α, and urine IP-10, MIP-1β) of the innate 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-reported emotional empathy and TASIT-S sarcasm detection performance). However, there were mixed findings for anti-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 into biologically-derived inflammatory processes, sickness behaviour, and their connection with social cognition.


Publication title

Brain, Behavior, & Immunity - Health



Article number









School of Psychological Sciences


Elsevier Inc.

Place of publication

United States

Rights statement

© 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 (

Repository Status

  • Open

Socio-economic Objectives

Clinical health not elsewhere classified