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Int J Hyperthermia. 2000 Nov-Dec;16(6):492-507.

Mild hyperthermia modulates biological activities of interferons.

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  • 1Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Buffalo, NY 14263, USA.


A significant enhancement of antiviral activity of human IFN-alpha, -beta and -gamma and murine IFN-gamma is observed when cells are treated with mild hyperthermia (39 degrees C) during antiviral assays. Treatment of primary human fibroblast cells with mild hyperthermia for 4 and 24 hours prior to interferon antiviral assays (pre-assay hyperthermia) further enhances interferon antiviral activity. An enhancement of interferon induced enzyme, 2,5-oligoadenylate synthetase, is also observed in cells treated with interferon and mild hyperthermia. This increase in enzyme activity is, in part, responsible for the observed increase in interferon antiviral activity with hyperthermia. Besides antiviral activity, mild hyperthermia also increases interferon antiproliferative activity on different tumour cells beyond its effect at normal physiological temperatures. On the other hand, mild hyperthermia decreases human interferon production in both human and murine cells when challenged with a viral or non-viral inducer. Also, mild hyperthermia suppresses interferon-mediated enhancement of natural killer (NK) cell activity in human and murine cells. The findings demonstrate that, although mild hyperthermia has suppressive effects upon interferon production and NK cell activity, it significantly increases both antiviral and antiproliferative activities of all three human interferons. These observations have direct bearing upon clinical utilization of exogenously administered interferons to late stage cancer patients who for the most part have a weaker immune system. In these patients, the antiviral and antiproliferative efficacies of administered interferon can be enhanced by combining interferon and hyperthermia.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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