IFN-alpha blocks IL-17 production by peripheral blood mononuclear cells in Behcet's disease

Xiaoli Liu, Peizeng Yang*, Chaokui Wang, Fuzhen Li, Aize Kijlstra

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Methods. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) obtained from patients with active BD and controls were cultured alone or with IFN-alpha and the levels of IL-17 and IL-10 in the supernatants were measured by ELISA. Similar experiments were performed with isolated CD4(+) T cells from controls. The levels of phosphorylated STAT1 (p-STAT1), p-STAT2, p-STAT3 and p-STAT5 in CD4(+) T cells from controls cultured with or without IFN-alpha were also evaluated by ELISA. Furthermore, an experiment using anti-IL-10 was performed to examine underlying mechanisms of action of IFN-alpha. Results. Significantly higher levels of IL-17 and IL-10 were observed in the supernatants of PBMCs from BD patients as compared with controls. IFN-alpha significantly decreased IL-17 production by PBMCs from both patients and controls. On the other hand, IFN-alpha increased IL-10 production by PBMCs from patients and controls. Similar findings were obtained when using CD4(+) T cells from controls, IFN-alpha significantly increased p-STAT2 expression in control CD4(+) T cells. Anti-IL-10 antibody was able to neutralize the inhibitory effect of IFN-alpha on IL-17 by 35% as compared with controls. Conclusions. In vitro experiments showed that IFN-alpha could inhibit IL-17 expression and increased IL-10 production by PBMCs and CD4(+) T cells. The inhibitory role of IFN-alpha on IL-17 was partly mediated by IL-10. IFN-alpha activity was mediated via STAT2 phosphorylation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-298
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2011


  • Behcet's disease
  • IFN-alpha
  • IL-17
  • IL-10

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