Interferons and interferon-related pathways in heart disease

Front Cardiovasc Med. 2024 Apr 11:11:1357343. doi: 10.3389/fcvm.2024.1357343. eCollection 2024.


Interferons (IFNs) and IFN-related pathways play key roles in the defence against microbial infection. However, these processes may also be activated during the pathogenesis of non-infectious diseases, where they may contribute to organ injury, or function in a compensatory manner. In this review, we explore the roles of IFNs and IFN-related pathways in heart disease. We consider the cardiac effects of type I IFNs and IFN-stimulated genes (ISGs); the emerging role of the cyclic GMP-AMP synthase (cGAS)-stimulator of interferon genes (STING) pathway; the seemingly paradoxical effects of the type II IFN, IFN-γ; and the varied actions of the interferon regulatory factor (IRF) family of transcription factors. Recombinant IFNs and small molecule inhibitors of mediators of IFN receptor signaling are already employed in the clinic for the treatment of some autoimmune diseases, infections, and cancers. There has also been renewed interest in IFNs and IFN-related pathways because of their involvement in SARS-CoV-2 infection, and because of the relatively recent emergence of cGAS-STING as a pattern recognition receptor-activated pathway. Whether these advances will ultimately result in improvements in the care of those experiencing heart disease remains to be determined.

Keywords: cGAS-STING; heart failure; interferon; interferon gamma (IFN-γ); interferon regulatory factor; interferon-stimulated gene; myocardial infarction; type I interferon (IFN).

Publication types

  • Review

Grants and funding

The authors declare that financial support was received for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.