Type I interferons in inflammatory and infectious disease

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Montana State University - Bozeman, College of Letters & Science


Type I interferons were discovered based on their capacity to induce a potent antiviral response in the face of viral challenge. They are now known to induce a variety of outcomes, which greatly depend on immune context. Immune context is shaped by viral, bacterial, autoimmune or other immune-altering scenarios. The role of type I interferons varies greatly from being beneficial to the host in some infectious contexts and detrimental in others. Additionally, type I interferons are currently used as treatments for some conditions including infection with hepatitis C virus and the autoimmune condition, multiple sclerosis (MS). These treatments however, come with a host of side effects and problematic outcomes including production of antibodies that neutralize type I interferons. There is a clear need for better understanding of the roles of type I interferons in various disease settings and for treatments that can complement or negate the use of type I interferons as treatments so as to avoid undesirable consequences of treatment. An exciting new area of therapeutic investigation is researching natural compounds like oligomeric procyanidins which we have shown to have immunomodulatory and type I interferon-related effects. Through the use of in vitro experiments with human peripheral blood mononuclear cells and in vivo experiments with murine models, we demonstrated a role for type I interferon signaling in the emerging disease, Clostridium difficile infection, and propose the use of oligomeric procyanidins derived from apple polyphenols as a potential treatment.




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