The Type I Interferon System in the Development of Lupus

Semin Immunol. 2011 Apr;23(2):113-21. doi: 10.1016/j.smim.2011.01.009. Epub 2011 Feb 2.

Abstract

The type I interferon (IFN) system induces inhibition of viral replication, but can also activate the innate and adaptive immune system. An important role of the type I IFN system in autoimmune diseases, including lupus, is suggested by the observation that these disorders display a prominent over-expression of type I IFN regulated genes. The development of autoimmune diseases in some individuals treated with IFN-α directly supports a pivotal role for this cytokine in breaking tolerance and inducing autoimmune reactions. A genetic setup that promotes type I IFN production and/or response and the presence of endogenous inducers of IFN-α production have been described in patients with lupus. Several known environmental risk factors for development of lupus or disease flares may contribute to the ongoing type I IFN production. In the present review we will describe the possible role of the type I IFN system in the lupus disease process. The possible connection between the type I IFN system and some environmental and genetic risk factors for lupus is also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Interferon Type I / biosynthesis
  • Interferon Type I / immunology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / genetics
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Cutaneous / immunology*
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / genetics
  • Lupus Erythematosus, Systemic / immunology*
  • Risk Factors

Substances

  • Interferon Type I