Effect of type I interferon on experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis in rats

Ocul Immunol Inflamm. 1998 Dec;6(4):215-26. doi: 10.1076/ocii.


In order to establish a scientific basis for the potential use of type I interferons (IFNs) in clinical uveitis, we examined the effect of a preparation of IFN-alpha/beta on experimental autoimmune uveoretinitis (EAU). Lewis rats were immunized with bovine interphotoreceptor retinoid-binding protein (IRBP) and given daily intramuscular injections of 10(5) IU mouse natural IFN-alpha/beta. Intraocular inflammation was assessed by slit-lamp biomicroscopy and histopathological examination. Rats treated daily with IFN-alpha/beta starting on the day of IRBP immunization showed decreased intraocular inflammation as well as a slight delay in onset of inflammation when compared to control rats. This effect was also observed to a lesser extent in rats treated during either the induction phase of EAU only, or starting immediately after the onset of inflammation in the effector phase of EAU. Measurement of IRBP-stimulated splenocyte proliferation and serum anti-IRBP antibody subtypes did not reveal a significant difference between IFN-alpha/beta-treated rats and control rats. Measurement of cytokine production by IRBP-stimulated splenocytes in vitro showed significantly decreased TNF-alpha for IFN-alpha/beta-treated rats compared to control, but no difference for IFN-gamma, IL-2, IL-4, and IL-10. These results indicate that systemic administration of IFN-alpha/beta suppresses IRBP-induced EAU in rats, and suggest that such suppression may be mediated in part by a reduction in TNF-alpha production.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoimmune Diseases / chemically induced
  • Autoimmune Diseases / immunology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / pathology
  • Autoimmune Diseases / therapy*
  • Cattle
  • Cytokines / immunology
  • Eye Proteins / immunology
  • Immunization
  • Interferon Type I / therapeutic use*
  • Lymphocyte Activation
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Lew
  • Retinitis / chemically induced
  • Retinitis / immunology
  • Retinitis / pathology
  • Retinitis / therapy*
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins / immunology
  • Spleen / immunology
  • T-Lymphocytes / immunology
  • Uveitis / chemically induced
  • Uveitis / immunology
  • Uveitis / pathology
  • Uveitis / therapy*


  • Cytokines
  • Eye Proteins
  • Interferon Type I
  • Retinol-Binding Proteins
  • interstitial retinol-binding protein