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J Virol. Feb 1991; 65(2): 968–971.
PMCID: PMC239840

Interferon-regulated Mx genes are not responsive to interleukin-1, tumor necrosis factor, and other cytokines.


Accumulation of Mx gene products in cells of patients and experimental animals has been recognized as a useful marker for detecting minute quantities of biologically active interferon (IFN). Goetschy et al. (J. Goetschy, H. Zeller, J. Content, and M. A. Horisberger, J. Virol. 63:2616-2622, 1989) reported that not only IFNs but also interleukin-1 (IL-1) and tumor necrosis factor (TNF) were potent inducers of the human Mx genes. However, we observed no Mx induction in cultured human fibroblasts or in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells treated with various concentrations of IL-1 alpha or TNF-alpha. Mx induction was found in the spleens of mice treated with TNF-alpha or IL-1 alpha, but this effect could be neutralized with antibodies to murine IFN-alpha/beta. Of the other cytokines that we tested (IL-2, IL-6, and granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor), only IL-2 induced the Mx genes in peripheral blood mononuclear cells, but antibodies to human IFN-beta efficiently neutralized this effect. Our results thus indicate that IFNs are the only cytokines with intrinsic Mx-inducing activity.

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Selected References

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