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Type I Interferons as Anti-Inflammatory Mediators

The type I interferons (IFNs), IFN-α and IFN-β, are cytokines that have antiviral, antiproliferative, and immunomodulatory activities. Data are now emerging that suggest that type I IFNs are also important mediators of anti-inflammatory responses. These findings, largely driven by studies to explain the beneficial effects of IFN-β in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, an autoimmune disease of the central nervous system, offer a number of mechanisms for the anti-inflammatory properties of type I IFNs. Type I IFNs, through their ability to induce the immunosuppressive cytokine interleukin-10 (IL-10), mediate the inhibition of proinflammatory gene products. In addition, type I IFNs induce other immunosuppressive mediators such as suppressor of cytokine signaling–1 (SOCS-1) and tristetrapolin (TTP), which act by divergent mechanisms to restore homeostasis to the immune system. Furthermore, type I IFNs mediate anti-inflammatory and protective effects in a variety of autoimmune disease models such as experimental colitis, experimental allergic encephalomyelitis, experimental arthritis, and neonatal inflammation. Here, we discuss the molecular basis for the anti-inflammatory properties of type I IFNs and their therapeutic potential in autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

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Resource Type: Bibliography, Diagram, Illustration, Journal article/Issue, Review
Audience Level: Undergraduate upper division 15-16, Graduate, Professional (degree program)

Author and Copyright

Authors and Editors: Etty N. Benveniste of Department of Cell Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Hongwei Qin of Department of Cell Biology, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Publisher: American Association for the Advancement of Science
Format: application/pdf, image/gif, image/jpeg, text/html
Copyright and other restrictions: Yes
Cost: Yes


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