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Mol Immunol. 2007 Jul;44(14):3597-607. Epub 2007 Apr 8.

Beta-interferon unbalances the peripheral T cell proinflammatory response in experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis.

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  • 1Unidad de Regulación Génica, Centro Nacional de Microbiología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Carretera Majadahonda-Pozuelo Km 2, Madrid, Spain.


Interferon beta (IFNbeta) is a widespread therapy for multiple sclerosis (MS). We have analyzed some critical features of the T cell activation process in lymph nodes after IFNbeta treatment of experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis (EAE) in SJL mice. Prevention of clinical signs and drastic reduction of perivascular infiltrates in the central nervous system (CNS) were accompanied by alterations in nuclear DNA binding activity levels of NFkappaB and Stat6 transcription factors in lymph node cells (LNC). A decrease of active NFkappaB subunits in treated animals correlated with lower levels of the cytoplasmic phosphorylated form of IkappaBalpha. Results also showed that nuclear DNA binding activity of Stat6 was increased by IFNbeta treatment, as were the cytoplasmic levels of phosphorilated Stat6 (P-Stat6). These high levels of P-Stat6 in IFNbeta-treated animals were accompanied by an increase of IL-4 expression levels measured by real time PCR. In vitro experiments with the IL-4 producing clone D10.G4.1 indicates that the IFNbeta-mediated IL-4 induction is not an effect exclusive to MBP-reactive cells, and suggest that it could be mediated by mRNA stability enlargement. On the other hand, IFNbeta treatment of EAE produced no significant changes in peripheral IFNgamma expression and a striking decrease of IL-17. These findings suggest that the inhibition of NFkappaB activity, the increase of IL-4 expression and its signaling transduction, and the decrease of IL-17 may cooperate to some of the antiinflammatory effects of IFNbeta on EAE.

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