Interferon tau alleviates obesity-induced adipose tissue inflammation and insulin resistance by regulating macrophage polarization.
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Chronic adipose tissue inflammation is a hallmark of obesity-induced insulin resistance and anti-inflammatory agents can benefit patients with obesity-associated syndromes. Currently available type I interferons for therapeutic immunomodulation are accompanied by high cytotoxicity and therefore in this study we have examined anti-inflammatory effects of interferon tau (IFNT), a member of the type I interferon family with low cellular toxicity even at high doses. Using a diet-induced obesity mouse model, we observed enhanced insulin sensitivity in obese mice administered IFNT compared to control mice, which was accompanied by a significant decrease in secretion of proinflammatory cytokines and elevated anti-inflammatory macrophages (M2) in adipose tissue. Further investigations revealed that IFNT is a potent regulator of macrophage activation that favors anti-inflammatory responses as evidenced by activation of associated surface antigens, production of anti-inflammatory cytokines, and activation of selective cell signaling pathways. Thus, our study demonstrates, for the first time, that IFNT can significantly mitigate obesity-associated systemic insulin resistance and tissue inflammation by controlling macrophage polarization, and thus IFNT can be a novel bio-therapeutic agent for treating obesity-associated syndromes and type 2 diabetes.