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Interferon response heterogeneity: activation of a pro-inflammatory response by interferon alpha and beta. A possible basis for diverse responses to interferon beta in MS.

Abstract

Interferon gamma (IFN-gamma) stimulates the (pro-inflammatory) type II interferon receptor and is known to exacerbate multiple sclerosis (MS). In contrast, IFN-alpha and IFN-beta are ligands for the (anti-inflammatory) type I interferon receptor and are beneficial in some (but not all) patients with MS. Should IFN-beta elicit a type-II-like pro-inflammatory response, the beneficial effects might be attenuated. These studies were undertaken to test this possibility with the use of quinolinic acid (QUIN) formation as a measure of type II receptor activation. In normal human macrophage cultures, IFN-gamma was the most potent stimulus for QUIN formation. Generally, IFN-beta and IFN-alpha were less potent. However, an unexpected inter-patient variability was observed. In some subjects, IFN-alpha was more potent than IFN-beta. In other subjects, IFN-beta was more potent than IFN-alpha. The present data demonstrate an inter-subject variability for QUIN production following exposure to the interferons. MS patients who demonstrate a pro-inflammatory response to IFN-beta (e.g., increased QUIN) may be less likely to benefit from this therapy.

Authors: Jansen, M., Reinhard, J.F. Jr
Journal: J. Leukoc. Biol., 65:439-443
Year: 1999
PubMed: Find in PubMed