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J Interferon Cytokine Res. 2012 Nov;32(11):534-41. doi: 10.1089/jir.2012.0016. Epub 2012 Sep 20.

Low doses of exogenous interferon-γ attenuated airway inflammation through enhancing Fas/FasL-induced CD4+ T cell apoptosis in a mouse asthma model.

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Department of Respiratory Diseases, The First Affiliated Hospital of College of Medicine, Zhejiang University, Republic of China.


To investigate whether low doses of exogenous interferon (IFN)-γ attenuate airway inflammation, and the underlying mechanisms, in asthma. C57BL/6 mice (n=42), after intraperitoneal ovalbumin (OVA) sensitization on day 0 and day 12, were challenged with OVA aerosol for 6 consecutive days. Different doses of IFN-γ were then administered intraperitoneally 5 min before each inhalation during OVA challenge. Airway hyperresponsiveness, airway inflammatory cells, cytokine profiles, and Fas/FasL expression on CD4(+) T cells were evaluated in an asthma model. The effect of various IFN-γ doses on Fas/FasL expression and CD4(+) T cell apoptosis were assessed in vitro. We demonstrated that low doses of IFN-γ reduced pulmonary infiltration of inflammatory cells, Th2 cytokine production, and goblet cells hyperplasia (P<0.05), while high doses of endogenous IFN-γ had almost no effect. We also found that low doses of IFN-γ relocated Fas/FasL to the CD4(+) T cell surface in the asthma model (P<0.05) and increased FasL-induced apoptosis in vitro (P<0.05). Furthermore, treatment with MFL-3, an anti-FasL antibody, partially abolished the anti- inflammatory properties of IFN-γ in the airway rather than affecting the Th1/Th2 balance. This research has revealed an alternative mechanism in asthma that involves low doses of IFN-γ, which attenuate airway inflammation through enhancing Fas/FasL-induced CD4(+) T cell apoptosis.

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