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Int Rev Immunol. 1998;17(1-4):53-73.

Type I interferons.

Author information

1
Institut Curie, Université Paris-Sud, Orsay, France.

Abstract

Type I interferons (IFNs) constitute a family of structurally related proteins that are all derived from the same ancestral gene and act on a common cell-surface receptor. Contrary to many other cytokines, the production of type I IFNs is not a specialized function, and all cells in the organism can produce them, usually as a result of induction by viruses, via the formation of double-stranded RNA. Type I IFNs are indeed responsible for the first line of defense during virus infection and act through the induction of a great number of proteins. Of these, at least thirty have been characterized, and there are probably many more. In addition to their direct antiviral effect, type I IFNs exert a wide variety of other activities, such as for example the induction of various cytokines and the stimulation of different effector cells of the immune system. Due to these pleiotropic effects, recombinant interferons are used in the clinic to treat a variety of diseases, among which cancer, viral hepatitis and multiple sclerosis.

PMID:
9914943
DOI:
10.3109/08830189809084487
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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