Differential induction of IL-12 by IFN-beta and IFN-gamma in human macrophages

J Interferon Cytokine Res. 1998 Sep;18(9):697-703. doi: 10.1089/jir.1998.18.697.


Interleukin-12 (IL-12) is a proinflammatory cytokine secreted by antigen-presenting cells (APC) in response to microbial antigens and mitogens. IL-12 induces interferon-gamma (IFN-gamma) production and enhances cellular immune responses. Conversely, IFN-gamma does not induce IL-12 but can prime its production by phagocytic cells in response to antigenic stimuli. In this study, we examined the effect of IFN-beta on IL-12 production in human macrophages, as IFN-beta is a natural protein produced by virus-infected cells. We demonstrate that, unlike IFN-gamma, IFN-beta is able to induce IL-12 production in macrophages. However, IFN-gamma can enhance IFN-beta-induced IL-12 in these cells. These findings suggest that IFN-beta could influence the immune response to virus infection indirectly through IL-12.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cell Line
  • Humans
  • Interferon beta-1a
  • Interferon beta-1b
  • Interferon-beta / pharmacology*
  • Interferon-gamma / pharmacology*
  • Interleukin-12 / biosynthesis*
  • Macrophages / drug effects*
  • Macrophages / metabolism
  • Recombinant Proteins / pharmacology


  • Recombinant Proteins
  • Interferon beta-1b
  • Interleukin-12
  • Interferon-beta
  • Interferon-gamma
  • Interferon beta-1a