Upregulation of interleukin-4 and IFN-gamma expression by IFN-tau, a member of the type I IFN family. Academic Article uri icon


  • Trophoblast interferon-tau (IFN-tau) is a new member of the type I IFN family that is produced in large quantities by the ruminant conceptus. Like other type I IFN, IFN-tau inhibits viral replication and activates natural killer (NK)-mediated cytotoxicity. In mice and humans, type I IFN enhances type 1 T helper (Th) cell responses, but the effects of type I IFN, including IFN-tau, on cytokine expression by bovine Th cells have not been described. The present study determined the effects of IFN-tau on interleukin-4 (IL-4), IFN-gamma, and IL-10 expression by antigen-specific, CD4+ T cell lines derived from cattle immune to either Babesia bovis, Babesia bigemina rhoptry-associated protein-1, or Anaplasma marginale. IFN-tau upregulated IFN-gamma secretion and steady-state levels of IFN-gamma and IL-4 mRNA by cell lines cultured for 3-6 weeks. In contrast, the steady-state levels of IL-10 mRNA were either not changed or inhibited at these times. Similar effects were obtained with human IFN-alpha. Comparison of the quantities of IFN-gamma, IL-4, and IL-10 transcripts in IFN-tau-treated or IFN-alpha-treated cultures revealed that even though IFN-gamma was the predominant cytokine expressed by all T cell lines, both IFN-gamma and IL-4 steady-state transcript levels were upregulated by a comparable degree. Thus, these studies demonstrate that IFN-tau is an immunomodulatory cytokine that promotes enhanced IL-4 and IFN-gamma responses by effector T cells but not, strictly speaking, Thl-biased responses in cattle. These results indicate the potential use of this cytokine as an adjuvant in ruminants to boost cell-mediated immune responses.

published proceedings

  • J Interferon Cytokine Res

author list (cited authors)

  • Tuo, W., MacMillan, H., Gnter, N., Bazer, F. W., & Brown, W. C.

citation count

  • 31

complete list of authors

  • Tuo, W||MacMillan, H||G√ľnter, N||Bazer, FW||Brown, WC

publication date

  • February 1999