Interferon-α curbs production of interleukin-22 by human peripheral blood mononuclear cells exposed to live Borrelia burgdorferi

J Cell Mol Med. 2015 Oct;19(10):2507-11. doi: 10.1111/jcmm.12634. Epub 2015 Jul 8.


Cytokine networks initiated by means of innate immunity are regarded as a major determinant of host defence in response to acute infection by bacteria including Borrelia burgdorferi. Herein, we demonstrate that interferon (IFN)-α, either endogenously produced after exposure of cells to toll-like receptor-9-activating CpG oligonucleotides or provided as recombinant cytokine, weakens activation of the anti-bacterial interleukin (IL)-1/IL-22 axis in human peripheral blood mononuclear cells exposed to viable B. burgdorferi. As IFN-α has been related to pathological dissemination of the spirochaete, data suggest an immunoregulatory role of type I IFN in this context that is able to significantly modify cytokine profiles thereby possibly determining early course of B. burgdorferi infection.

Keywords: Borrelia burgdorferi; host defence; immune response; inflammation; interferon-α; interleukin-1; interleukin-22; peripheral blood mononuclear cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Borrelia burgdorferi / drug effects
  • Borrelia burgdorferi / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Interferon-alpha / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-22
  • Interleukins / biosynthesis*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / drug effects
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / metabolism*
  • Leukocytes, Mononuclear / microbiology*
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides / pharmacology


  • CPG-oligonucleotide
  • Interferon-alpha
  • Interleukins
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides