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J Immunol. 1988 Mar 1;140(5):1566-70.

Antiviral action of tumor necrosis factor in human fibroblasts is not mediated by B cell stimulatory factor 2/IFN-beta 2, and is inhibited by specific antibodies to IFN-beta.

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  • 1Department of Microbiology, New York University Medical Center 10016.


A protein termed IFN-beta 2, originally described on the basis of antiviral activity and antigenic cross-reactivity with the classical IFN-beta, is now known to be identical with the independently isolated B cell stimulatory factor (BSF-2). Earlier it was suggested that IFN-beta 2 (i.e., BSF-2) mediates the antiviral action of TNF in human fibroblasts. We examined Escherichia coli-derived recombinant preparations of human IFN-beta and BSF-2 for antiviral activity and plasmacytoma growth factor (PCT-GF) activity. IFN-beta had antiviral activity but showed no PCT-GF activity. BSF-2 showed potent PCT-GF activity but lacked antiviral activity. Antiviral activity of IFN-beta was neutralized by polyclonal antibodies and mAb to IFN-beta, but not by antibody to rBSF-2. PCT-GF activity of BSF-2 was neutralized by antibody to rBSF-2, but not by antibodies neutralizing the antiviral action of IFN-beta. Five mAb and a polyclonal antibody to human IFN-beta failed to react with BSF-2 in a solid phase RIA and antibody to BSF-2 did not react with IFN-beta. PCT-GF activity in supernatants of human FS-4 fibroblasts stimulated with TNF, IL-1 or poly(I).poly(C) was neutralized by antibody to rBSF-2, but not by antibodies neutralizing the antiviral activity of IFN-beta. Finally, the antiviral activity of TNF in FS-4 cultures was neutralized by antibodies to IFN-beta but not by antibodies to BSF-2. Taken together, these results support the view that the antiviral action of TNF in human fibroblasts is mediated by IFN-beta, and not by BSF-2/IFN-beta 2 that apparently lacks significant antiviral activity.

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