Yin and yang interplay of IFN-gamma in inflammation and autoimmune disease

J Clin Invest. 2007 Apr;117(4):871-3. doi: 10.1172/JCI31860.


IFN-gamma has long been recognized as a signature proinflammatory cytokine that plays a central role in inflammation and autoimmune disease. There is now emerging evidence indicating that IFN-gamma possesses unexpected properties as a master regulator of immune responses and inflammation. In this issue of the JCI, Guillonneau et al. show that indefinite allograft survival induced by CD40Ig treatment is mediated by CD8(+)CD45RC(low) T cells through the production of IFN-gamma (see the related article beginning on page 1096), supporting the emerging view that IFN-gamma is critical in the self-regulation of inflammation. These contradictory roles of IFN-gamma, perhaps best understood by the principle of yin and yang, represent one of nature's paradoxes, whereby the same cytokine functions as an inducer as well as a regulator for inflammation. Understanding this complex process of IFN-gamma signaling is essential, as it has therapeutic implications.

Publication types

  • Comment

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / physiopathology*
  • Graft Survival / immunology
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Interferon-gamma / physiology*
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins / therapeutic use
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Transplantation Tolerance / immunology
  • Transplantation, Homologous / immunology
  • Yin-Yang


  • CD40Ig protein, recombinant
  • Recombinant Fusion Proteins
  • Interferon-gamma