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Interferon-alpha Mediates Suppression of C-Reactive Protein Explanation for Muted C-Reactive Protein Response in Lupus Flares?
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Medical Sciences. (Systemic Autoimmunity)
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2009 (English)In: Arthritis and Rheumatism, ISSN 0004-3591, E-ISSN 1529-0131, Vol. 60, no 12, 3755-3760 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Objective. C-reactive protein (CRP) is synthesized by hepatocytes in response to interleukin-6 (IL-6) during inflammation. Despite raised IL-6 levels and extensive systemic inflammation, serum CRP levels remain low during most viral infections and disease flares of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). Because both viral infections and SLE are characterized by high levels of interferon-alpha (IFN alpha), the aim of this study was to determine whether this cytokine can inhibit the induction of CRP. Methods. The interference of all 12 IFN alpha subtypes with CRP promoter activity induced by IL-6 and IL-1 beta was studied in a CRP promoter- and luciferase reporter-transfected human hepatoma cell line, Hep-G2. CRIP secretion by primary human hepatocytes was analyzed by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Results. CRP promoter activity was inhibited by all single IFN alpha subtypes, as well as by 2 different mixtures of biologically relevant IFN alpha subtypes. The most prominent effect was seen using a leukocyte-produced mixture of IFN alpha (56% inhibition at 1,000 IU/ml). The inhibitory effect of IFN alpha was confirmed in primary human hepatocytes. CRP promoter inhibition was dose dependent and mediated via the type I IFN receptor. Transferrin production and Hep-G2 proliferation/viability were not affected by IFN alpha. Conclusion. The current study demonstrates that IFN alpha is an inhibitor of CRP promoter activity and CRP secretion. This finding concords with previous observations of up-regulated IFN alpha and a muted CRP response during SLE disease flares. Given the fundamental role of both IFN alpha and CRP in the immune response, our results are of importance for understanding the pathogenesis of SLE and may also contribute to understanding the differences in the CRP response between viral and bacterial infections.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 60, no 12, 3755-3760 p.
Keyword [en]
interferon, lupus, SLE, C-reactive protein, type I IFN
National Category
Rheumatology and Autoimmunity
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-127384DOI: 10.1002/art.25042ISI: 000272636700027OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-127384DiVA: diva2:329765
Available from: 2010-07-13 Created: 2010-07-13 Last updated: 2012-02-16Bibliographically approved

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Eloranta, Maija-LeenaRönnblom, Lars
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