Effects of interferon-alpha (IFN-alpha) administration on leucocytes in healthy humans

E.P.M. Corssmit, C.E. Hack, J.W. ten Cate, H.P. Sauerwein, J.A. Romijn, R. Heijligenberg, E. Endert

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Plasma concentrations of IFN-alpha are increased in several inflammatory conditions. Several lines of evidence indicate that IFN-alpha has anti-inflammatory properties. To study the effects of IFN-alpha on leucocyte subsets and activation and on cytokines, we administered IFN-alpha (rhIFN-alpha2b; 5 x 10(6) U/m2) to eight healthy human subjects in a randomized controlled cross-over study and analysed changes in circulating leucocytes and parameters for neutrophil and monocyte activation. After administration of IFN-alpha, neutrophil counts increased, monocyte counts decreased transiently, whereas the number of lymphocytes, basophils and eosinophils showed a sustained decrease. IFN-alpha administration was also associated with neutrophil activation, reflected in an increase in the plasma concentrations of elastase-alpha1-antitrypsin complexes and lactoferrin. Serum neopterin, a marker for monocyte activation, was significantly increased 10 h after administration of IFN-alpha. IFN-alpha significantly increased plasma concentrations of IL-6, IL-8 and IL-10. Although IL-1 and tumour necrosis factor (TNF) remained undetectable, plasma concentrations of soluble TNF receptors p55 and p75 increased after IFN-alpha administration. We conclude that IFN-alpha induces multiple alterations in the distribution and functional properties of leucocytes. IFN-alpha exerts pro- as well as anti-inflammatory effects within the cytokine network
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)97-103
JournalClinical and experimental immunology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1997


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