Innate interferons inhibit allergen and microbial specific T(H)2 responses

Antonia L. Pritchard, Olivia J. White, Julie G. Burel, John W. Upham

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20 Citations (Scopus)


Several studies provided evidence of innate interferons (IFNs) regulating TH2 cytokine production using purified CD4+ memory cells and TH2 polarisation via interleukin-4 (IL-4). Vitally, none of these previous studies examined IFN attenuation of TH2 responses to allergen or antigen. This study therefore sought to investigate the abrogation of specific allergen- and antigen-stimulated TH2 response in peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMC) derived from 12 sensitised individuals by IFN-β and IFN-λ. PBMC were cultured in the presence of house dust mite (HDM) allergen, rhinovirus (RV), influenza vaccine and tetanus toxoid (TT)±either IFN-β or IFN-λ for 3 and 5 days. IFN-γ, IL-5 and IL-13 protein levels were measured by ELISA. Quantitative PCR (qPCR) was used to investigate induction of genes involved in control of TH2 cytokines. No alteration in TH1 IFN-γ allergen/antigen response was observed with addition of IFN-β or IFN-λ. Consistent abrogation of TH2 response to HDM and influenza was observed with IFN-β at both time points; attenuation was observed by day 5 with RV and TT. IFN-λ had no consistent effect on TH2 production except in the presence of RV (multiplicity of infection=5); a decrease in IL-5 alone was observed in the presence of trivalent inactivated influenza vaccine. GATA binding protein 3 (GATA3) and suppressors of cytokine signalling3 mRNA were differentially regulated in HDM and influenza-stimulated cultures±IFN-β. We concluded that IFN-β produced a strong and consistent abrogation of TH2 cytokine production in the presence of a range of allergen and antigen stimulants.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)974-977
Number of pages4
JournalImmunology and Cell Biology
Issue number10
Early online date24 Jul 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012


  • allergen
  • innate immunity
  • interferon-beta
  • interferon-lambda
  • T(H)2 cytokines


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