Type I interferons as regulators of lung inflammation

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Immune responses to lung infections must be tightly regulated in order to permit pathogen eradication while maintaining organ function. Exuberant or dysregulated inflammation can impair gas exchange and underlies many instances of lung disease. An important driver of inflammation in the lung is the interferon (IFN) response. Type I IFNs are antiviral cytokines that induce a large range of proteins that impair viral replication in infected cells. This cell-intrinsic action plays a crucial role in protecting the lungs from spread of respiratory viruses. However, type I IFNs have also recently been found to be central to the initiation of lung inflammatory responses, by inducing recruitment and activation of immune cells. This helps control virus burden but can cause detrimental immunopathology and contribute to disease severity. Furthermore, there is now increasing evidence that type I IFNs are not only induced after viral infections but also after infection with bacteria and fungi. The pro-inflammatory function of type I IFNs in the lung opens up the possibility of immune modulation directed against this antiviral cytokine family. In this review, the initiation and signaling of type I IFNs as well as their role in driving and maintaining lung inflammation will be discussed.




Makris, S., Paulsen, M., & Johansson, C. (2017, March 10). Type I interferons as regulators of lung inflammation. Frontiers in Immunology. Frontiers Research Foundation. https://doi.org/10.3389/fimmu.2017.00259

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