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2002 | 50 | 4 | 243-254

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Type I interferons as immunoregulatory molecules; implications for therapy in experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis

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Clinical trials have shown that the type I interferon (IFN)-alpha/beta have some beneficial effects on organ-specific autoimmune disease, such as Behcet's diseases and multiple sclerosis, although the precise mechanims remain lergaly unresolved T helper cells (Th1)-mediated autoimmune response are involved in the initiation and/or progression of human uveitis, such as Behcet's disease. The animal model of experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU), characterized by a monophasic clinical course, has contributed to the understanding of the pathogenesis of human uveitis. Th1 producing IFN-gamma induce EAU development, while Th2 producing IL-4/IL-10 prevent the disease. However, depending on the cytokine milieu, the pro-inflammatory cytokine IFN-gamma may attenuate the autoimmune response and anti-inflammatory cytokine IL-4 exacerbates it. Chemokines also play a crucial role in EAU development, which might be resolved by Th2-mediated immune responses. The administration of IFN-alpha/beta prevents EAU development, accompanied by a dimished production of IFN-gamma/IL-10. Interestingly, however, IFN-alpha/beta also have some beneficial effects on patients with Th2-like phenotype in addition to Th1-like phenotypes. Thus, the immuno-modulatory action of IFN-alpha/beta may be dependent on the context of cytokine combination and/or their concentrations.




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J. Mizuguchi, Department of Immunology, Tokyo Medical University, 6-1-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo 160-8402 Japan


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