Femtograms of Interferon-γ Suffice to Modulate the Behavior of Jurkat Cells: A New Light in Immunomodulation

Int J Mol Sci. 2017 Dec 15;18(12):2715. doi: 10.3390/ijms18122715.


Since interferon-γ (IFN-γ) tunes both innate and adaptive immune systems, it was expected to enter clinical practice as an immunomodulatory drug. However, the use of IFN-γ has been limited by its dose-dependent side effects. Low-dose medicine, which is emerging as a novel strategy to treat diseases, might circumvent this restriction. Several clinical studies have proved the efficacy of therapies with a low dose of cytokines subjected to kinetic activation, while no in vitro data are available. To fill this gap, we investigated whether low concentrations, in the femtogram range, of kinetically activated IFN-γ modulate the behavior of Jurkat cells, a widely used experimental model that has importantly contributed to the present knowledge about T cell signaling. In parallel, IFN-γ in the nanogram range was used and shown to activate Signal transducer and activator of transcription (STAT)-1 and then to induce suppressor of cytokine signaling-1 (SOCS-1), which inhibits downstream signaling. When added together, femtograms of IFN-γ interfere with the transduction cascade activated by nanograms of IFN-γ by prolonging the activation of STAT-1 through the downregulation of SOCS-1. We conclude that femtograms of IFN-γ exert an immunomodulatory action in Jurkat cells.

Keywords: Jurkat cells; SOCS-1; STAT-1; immunomodulation; interferon-γ.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptive Immunity / drug effects*
  • Adaptive Immunity / genetics
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Humans
  • Immunity, Innate / drug effects*
  • Immunity, Innate / genetics
  • Immunologic Factors / administration & dosage*
  • Immunomodulation / drug effects
  • Interferon-gamma / administration & dosage
  • Jurkat Cells / drug effects
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor / genetics
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor / immunology
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 1 Protein / genetics
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 1 Protein / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / drug effects*
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology


  • Immunologic Factors
  • SOCS1 protein, human
  • STAT1 Transcription Factor
  • STAT1 protein, human
  • Suppressor of Cytokine Signaling 1 Protein
  • Interferon-gamma