• Type I interferon drives tumor necrosis factor-induced lethal shock.

      Huys, Liesbeth; Van Hauwermeiren, Filip; Dejager, Lien; Dejonckheere, Eline; Lienenklaus, Stefan; Weiss, Siegfried; Leclercq, Georges; Libert, Claude; Department for Molecular Biomedical Research, VIB, Ghent B9052, Belgium. (2009-08-31)
      Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) is reputed to have very powerful antitumor effects, but it is also a strong proinflammatory cytokine. Injection of TNF in humans and mice leads to a systemic inflammatory response syndrome with major effects on liver and bowels. TNF is also a central mediator in several inflammatory diseases. We report that type I interferons (IFNs) are essential mediators of the lethal response to TNF. Mice deficient in the IFN-alpha receptor 1 (IFNAR-1) or in IFN-beta are remarkably resistant to TNF-induced hypothermia and death. After TNF injection, IFNAR-1(-/-) mice produced less IL-6, had less bowel damage, and had less apoptosis of enterocytes and hepatocytes compared with wild-type (WT) mice. Extensive gene expression analysis in livers of WT and IFNAR-1(-/-) mice revealed a large deficiency in the response to TNF in the knockout mice, especially of IFN-stimulated response element-dependent genes, many of which encode chemokines. In livers of IFNAR-1(-/-) mice, fewer infiltrating white blood cells (WBCs) were detected by immunohistochemistry. Deficiency of type I IFN signaling provided sufficient protection for potentially safer therapeutic use of TNF in tumor-bearing mice. Our data illustrate that type I IFNs act as essential mediators in TNF-induced lethal inflammatory shock, possibly by enhancing cell death and inducing chemokines and WBC infiltration in tissues.