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Research article2009Peer reviewed

Type I interferon and lupus

Ronnblom, Lars; Alm, Gunnar V.; Eloranta, Maija-Leena


Purpose of reviewPatients with lupus have signs of an ongoing production of type I interferons (IFNs) that are of importance both for the etiopathogenesis and the clinical manifestations. In this review, we summarize the latest information concerning the type I IFN system in lupus.Recent findingsActivated plasmacytoid dendritic cells are responsible for the IFN alpha production in lupus and can be found in target organs such as glomeruli. The plasmacytoid dendritic cells are triggered by interferogenic immune complexes, and produced IFN alpha activates the immune system and impairs T-regulatory cell function. Autoantibodies, which can form interferogenic immune complexes, are not only present in serum of lupus patients but also in the cerebrospinal fluid of patients with neuropsychiatric manifestations. There is a strong association between risk to develop lupus and gene variants connected to the production and effects of type I IFN. Risk variants can not only cause either increased serum IFN alpha activity or sensitivity but also a more severe disease phenotype. Administration of monoclonal anti-IFN alpha antibodies to lupus patients downregulates several proinflammatory pathways and reduces disease activity.SummaryIncreasing evidence indicates that the activated type I IFN system in lupus is critical in the etiopathogenesis of the disease and is an important therapeutic target.


interferon; lupus; plasmacytoid dendritic cells

Published in

Current Opinion in Rheumatology
2009, Volume: 21, number: 5, pages: 471-477

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Veterinary Science
    Animal and Dairy Science

    Publication identifier


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