Home About us Current issue Ahead of Print Back issues Submission Instructions Advertise Contact Login   

Search Article 
Advanced search 
Saudi Journal of Kidney Diseases and Transplantation
Users online: 1438 Home Bookmark this page Print this page Email this page Small font sizeDefault font size Increase font size 

EDITORIAL Table of Contents   
Year : 2007  |  Volume : 18  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 333-336
Interferon-Beta for Glomerulonephritis?

London NW1 8JS, United Kingdom

Click here for correspondence address and email


Interferon beta (IFNβ) is used in the therapy of multiple sclerosis (MS), which develops from the activation of autoreactive T lymphocytes against peptides of myelin basic protein. IFNβ was demonstrated to have beneficial effects in experimental models of glomerulonephritis (GN), such as decreasing proteinuria via Il-10 release. T helper (Th-1) lymphocyte responses are reduced, the actions of metalloproteinase (MMP9) are suppressed, and the functions of regulatory T cells are promoted. In concept, IFNI3 therapy might be beneficial in patients with life threatening forms of GN, such as Goodpasture's syndrome or vasculitis. Further research is warranted to study the effect of IFNβ on GN in clinical settings.

How to cite this article:
Wardle E N. Interferon-Beta for Glomerulonephritis?. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl 2007;18:333-6

How to cite this URL:
Wardle E N. Interferon-Beta for Glomerulonephritis?. Saudi J Kidney Dis Transpl [serial online] 2007 [cited 2022 Jun 27];18:333-6. Available from: https://www.sjkdt.org/text.asp?2007/18/3/333/33747

   Introduction Top

Interferon beta (IFNβ) is licensed for use in the therapy of multiple sclerosis (MS), which develops from the activation of autoreactive T lymphocytes against peptides of myelin basic protein, the principal component of the myelin sheath of nerve axons. Consequently, auto­reactive T cells destroy the blood-brain barrier and the brain matrix, which results in an influx of associated inflammatory and immune cells into the brain.

IFNβ therapy usually results in a rise of serum levels of interleukin 10 (Il-10), which is an immunosuppressive cytokine. [1] Il-10 inhibits the activation of T cells, monocytes, and macro­phages, and promotes suppression by T regula­ting autoimmune leukokine (TRAIL). [2] In view of its properties, Il-10 is thought to protect against autoimmunity. [2]

Accordingly, it is not surprising that the potential of therapy with IFNβ has been explored in various experimental models of glomerulonephritis (GN), even though it is recognized that TLR4 stimulation in GN by immune complexes results in "delayed response" formation of IFNβ. This increases macrophage formation of nitric oxide species (iNOS) and interleukin 12, an inflammation promoter. [4]

In 2005, Schwarting et al [5] reported on the benefits of IFNβ therapy in the autoimmune lupus of MRL-lpr mice. IFNβ was admini­stered in the mice with either mild lupus nephritis or advanced disease. The results were very encouraging, for there was a decrease of leukocyte infiltration of the kidneys, a decrease of intra-renal IgG3 anti­body, and a reduction of production of renal cytokines such as IFNγ and tissue necro­tizing factor (TNFα).

More recently, research groups in the UK have assessed the effects of IFNβ in models of experimental GN. [6] Recombinant IFNβ (6 x 10 5 units per day) administered to WKY rats with nephrotoxic nephritis resulted in an 80% reduction of proteinuria at day 14. The numbers of proliferating cells within the glomeruli were reduced by 40%, despite the increase of CD8 T cells by 40% that is expected in nephrotoxic nephritis. Formation of alpha-smooth muscle actin (SMA) in these glomeruli was reduced. In Lewis rats with anti-Thy1 GN, there was a similar reduction of proteinuria, numbers of glomerular and interstitial cells, and the expression of αSMA. In an experiment that used monolayers of cultured cells (endothelial cells or podocytes), it was demonstrated how IFNβ decreased the trans-layer passage of albumin. These impressive findings in experimental settings prompted more research to elucidate the mechanism of action for IFNβ on GN.

   The Immune Suppressor Actions of IFNβ Top

Most research into the immune effects of IFNβ has focussed on experimental encephalo­myelitis, which is the equivalent of human MS. Teige et al [7] explored the effects of IFNβ on CNS antigen presenting cells and found that they were suppressed. It has been known for some time that IFNβ blocks the expression of MHC class II antigens that are required for the stimulation of CD4 T helper (Th) cells through the dendritic cells (DCs) in the CNS. [8] Furthermore, IFNβ therapy suppresses Th-1 lymphocytes through the action of Il-10 and enhances the expression of TRAIL on anti-CD3 activated T cells. [9] TRAIL and its receptors belong to the TNFa superfamily of cytokines that seems to mediate many of the antiviral, antitumor, and anti-inflammatory actions of the type I α and β IFNs. [10] Type I IFNs cause neutrophils and monocytes to release a soluble form of TRAIL. TRAIL supports the release of nitric oxide by endo­thelial cells and counteracts the ability of TNFα to promote adhesion of leucocytes to endothelial cells.

IFNβ directly inhibits the release of Il-12 that is required for Th-1 cell and indirectly through Il-10 stimulation in the peripheral blood mononuclear cells. [11],[12] Moreover, using astro­glioma cells, Nozell et al [13] demonstrated how IFNβ could also inhibit transcription of the Il-8 gene, which is a chemokine that recruits migrating neutrophils and other leucocytes to inflammatory sites. Accordingly, IFNβ could be used to control difficult cases of vasculitis or treat SLE exacerbations in which there is release of Il-12 and Il-8. [14]

Other actions of IFNβ are yet to be revealed, considering that IFNβ acts mostly by promoting the anti-inflammatory actions of Il-10. [2] Whenever Il-10 predominates, there is a release of decoy receptors for chemokine receptors (CCR), CCR 1 for migration inhi­bitory protein (MIP1α), CCR2 for migration controlling protein (MCP-1), and CCR5 for MIP-1β. Therefore, the suppression of these chemokines by IFNβ inhibits the monocyte­macrophage-mediated inflammation such as that found in MS. In contrast, IFNβ has weak anti-apoptotic properties towards neutrophils via the stimulation of Il-2. [15] A third action of IFNβ is the inhibition of the metalloproteinase MMP-9 (gelatinase B), which is an amplifier of immune reactivity within the inflamma­tory foci. [16] In GN, MMP-9 is detectable in mesangial cells and in infiltrating neutro­phils. A fourth action of IFNβ is the attenua­tion of the T cell activating effects of mast cells, through promotion of Il-10 and reduction of TNFα. [17]

Finally, IFNβ has growth inhibitory actions on cells; it was found to downregulate the expression of c-Myc and restrain cellular proliferation in leukemias. [18] This finding corresponds with the observations of Satchell et al. [6] The ability of IFNI3 to cause Go/G1 growth arrest of cell cycles was previously demonstrated. [19] The exact mechanism by which IFNβ causes the downregulation of c­Myc are still not completely illustrated. [20]

In conclusion, IFNβ was demonstrated to have beneficial effects in experimental models of GN, such as decreasing proteinuria via Il-10 release. Th-1 lymphocyte responses are reduced, the actions of MMP9 are suppressed, and the functions of regulatory T cells are promoted. In concept, IFNβ therapy might be beneficial in patients with life threatening forms of GN, such as Goodpasture syndrome or vasculitis. Further research is warranted to study the effect of IFNβ on GN in clinical settings.[21]

   References Top

1.Dressel A, Kolb A K, Elitok E, et al.Interferon-1b treatment modulates cytokines in patients with primary progressive multiple sclerosis.Acta Neurol Scand 2006;114:368-73.  Back to cited text no. 1    
2.Moore K W, de Waal Malefyt R, Coffman R L,O`Garra A.Interleukin 10 and the Il-10 receptor. Annual Review Immunol 2001;19:683-765.  Back to cited text no. 2    
3.Takeda K, Akira S. Toll-like Receptor signaling pathways. Semin Immunol 2004;16:3-9.  Back to cited text no. 3  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
4.Thomas K E, Galligan C L, Newman R, Fish E N, Vogel S N. Contribution of IFN­ beta to the murine macrophage response to toll like receptor 4 agonist lipopolysaccharide. J Biol Chem 2006;281:31119-30.  Back to cited text no. 4    
5.Schwarting A, Paul K, Tschirner S, et al. Interferon-beta: a therapeutic for autoimmune lupus in MTL-lpr mice. J Am Soc Nephrol 2005;16(11):3264-72.  Back to cited text no. 5    
6.Satchell S C, Cook H T, Buchatska O, et al. Interferon-beta attenuates proteinuria in 3 models of experimental glomerular injury and modulates barrier properties of human glomerular endothelial cells and podocytes in culture.in press  Back to cited text no. 6    
7.Teige I, Liu Y, Issazadeh-Navikas S. Interferon beta inhibits T cell activation capacity of CNS antigen presenting cells. J Immunol 2006;177:3554-8.  Back to cited text no. 7    
8.Lu HT, Riley J L, Babcock G T, et al. Interferon beta acts down stream of Interferon gamma induced class II transactivator mRNA accumulation to block major histocompatability cmplex class II gene expression. J Exp Medicine 1995;182:1517-25.  Back to cited text no. 8    
9.Arbour N, Rastikerder E, McCrea E, et al. Upregulation of Trail expression on human T lymphocytes by interferon-beta and glatiramer acetate. Mult Scler 2005;11:652­7.  Back to cited text no. 9    
10.Zauli G,Secchiero P. The role of Trail/Trail receptors in hematopoiesis and endothelial cell biology. Cytokine Growth Factor Rev 2006;17:245-57.  Back to cited text no. 10  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]
11.Wang X, Chen M, Wandiger K P, et al. Interferon-1beta inhibits interleukin 12 production in peripheral blood mononuclear cells in Interleukin-10 dependent mechanisms: relevance to Interferon beta therapeutic actions in multiple sclerosis. J Immunol 2000;165:548-57.  Back to cited text no. 11    
12.Fahey A J, Robino R A, Kindle K B, Heeny D M, Constantinescu C S. Effects of glucocorticoid on Stat4 activation in human T cells are stimulus dependent. J Leukocyte Biol 2006;80:133-44.  Back to cited text no. 12    
13.Nozell S, Lauer T, Patel K, Benveniste E N. Mechanism of Interferon gamma mediated inhibition of Interleukin-8 gene expression in astroglioma cells. J Immunol 2006;177: 822-30.  Back to cited text no. 13    
14.Ronnefarth VM, Erbacher AI, Lamkemeyer T. et al. TLR2/TLR4 independent neutrophil activation and recruitment endocytosis of nucleosomes reveals a new pathway of innate immunity in SLE. J Immunol 2006;177:7740-9.  Back to cited text no. 14    
15.Scheel-Toellner D, Wang K, Henriquez N V. et al. Cytokine mediated inhibition of apoptosis.Europ J Immunol 2002;32:486­-93.  Back to cited text no. 15    
16.Opdenakker G,Evandensteen P,van Damme J.Gelatinase B:a tuner and amplifier of immune functions.Trends Immunology 2001;22:571-9.  Back to cited text no. 16    
17.Fujita T, Kambe N, Uchiyara T, Hori T. Type I interferons attenuate T cell activating factor functions of rat cells by decreased TNF alfa production and OX40L expression whilst increasing interleukin-10 production. J Clin Invest 2006;26:512-8.  Back to cited text no. 17    
18.Hu X, Bies J, Wolff L. Interferon beta increases c-Myc proteolysis in mouse monocyte-macrophage leukaemia cells. Leuk Res 2005;29(11):1307-14.  Back to cited text no. 18    
19.Einat M, Resnitzky D, Kimchi A. A close link between reduction of c-Myc by interferon and Go/G1 arrest. Nature 1985;313:597-600.  Back to cited text no. 19  [PUBMED]  
20.Sarkar D, Park E S, Fisher P B. Defining the mechanism by which Interferon beta down regulates c-myc expression in human melanoma cells. Cell Death Diffn 2006;13:1541-53.  Back to cited text no. 20    
21.Pascual V, Farkas L, Banchereau J. SLE: all roads lead to type I interferons. Curr Opin Immunol 2006;18:676-82.  Back to cited text no. 21  [PUBMED]  [FULLTEXT]

Correspondence Address:
E Nigel Wardle
London NW1 8JS
United Kingdom
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 17679741

Rights and PermissionsRights and Permissions


    Similar in PUBMED
    Search Pubmed for
    Search in Google Scholar for
    Email Alert *
    Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)  

    The Immune Suppr...

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded351    
    Comments [Add]    

Recommend this journal