Background: Interferon (IFN)-λ1 is a newly described cytokine, member of type III interferons family, which is known for its antiviral, anti-proliferative and antitumor activity. Recent studies indicated that this cytokine has also immune-regulatory function, but its role in the pathogenesis of autoimmune diseases is not established yet. We evaluated serum levels of IFN-λ1 in systemic sclerosis (SSc) patients and healthy controls and its association with IFN-γ and clinical manifestations.
Methods: IFN-λ1 and IFN-γ serum levels were measured by ELISA from 52 patients with SSc and 53 healthy controls. Association of cytokines serum levels was sought with clinical parameters.
Results: IFN-λ1 and IFN-γ levels in SSc patients were significantly higher than those in healthy individuals (24.82 ± 8.78 and 11.04 ± 3.04 pg/ml, p < 0.0001; 34.11 ± 8.11 and 10.73 ± 2.77 pg/ml, p < 0.0001, respectively). We found a positive correlation between IFN-λ1 and IFN-γ levels in SSc patients (p = 0.0103, r = 0.3526). IFN-γ levels were associated with muscle involvement (p = 0.0483).
Conclusion: We first showed raised IFN-λ1 levels in SSc patients. Furthermore, we found a correlation between IFN-λ1 and IFN-γ levels and an association between IFN-γ and myositis. Additional in vitro and in vivo studies are needed to understand IFN-λ1 role in SSc.
Keywords: Cytokine; interferon-gamma; interferon-lambda1; interleukin-29; scleroderma.