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J Cell Mol Med. 2008 Jun;12(3):876-88. doi: 10.1111/j.1582-4934.2008.00143.x.

Type I IFN induced IL1-Ra expression in hepatocytes is mediated by activating STAT6 through the formation of STAT2: STAT6 heterodimer.

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Department of Medical Genetics and Medical Research, China Medical University Hospital, Taichung, Taiwan.


The biological activities of type I interferons (IFNs) are mediated by their binding to a heterodimer receptor complex (IFNAR1 and IFNAR2), resulting in the activation of the JAK (JAK1 and TYK2)-STAT (1, 2, 3, 5 isotypes) signalling pathway. Although several studies have indicated that IFN-alpha and IFN-beta can activate complexes containing STAT6, the biological role of this activation is still unknown. We found that exposure of hepatoma cells (HuH7 and Hep3B) to IFN-alpha or IFN-beta led to the activation of STAT6. Activated STAT6 in turn induced the formation of STAT2: STAT6 complexes, which led to the secretion of IL-1Ra. The activation of STAT6 by type I IFN in hepatocytes was mediated by JAK1 and Tyk2. In addition, IFN-alpha or IFN-beta significantly enhanced the stimulatory effect of IL-1beta on production of IL-1Ra. The present study suggests a novel function of IFN-alpha and IFN-beta signalling in human hepatocytes. Our results provide evidence for the mechanism how IFN-alpha and IFN-beta modulate inflammatory responses through activation of STAT6 and production of secreted IL-1Ra.

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