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The discovery of interferons and their main types and side effects

Interferon

Another group of proteins that provide protection are the interferons, which inhibit the replication of many—but not all—viruses. Cells that have been infected with a virus produce interferon, which sends a signal to other cells of the body to resist viral growth.

  • The beta form of interferon is mildly effective in treating the relapsing-remitting form of multiple sclerosis;
  • They are produced by all vertebrate animals and possibly by some invertebrates as well;
  • We devised an indirect two-stage procedure to identify clones containing interferon sequences.

When first… Interferon was named for its ability to interfere with viral proliferation. Interferons can also combat bacterial and parasitic infections, inhibit cell divisionand promote or impede the differentiation of cells.

Clinical uses of interferons

They are produced by all vertebrate animals and possibly by some invertebrates as well. Interferons are categorized as cytokinessmall proteins that are involved in intercellular signaling. Rather, it stimulates the infected cells and those nearby to produce proteins that prevent the virus from replicating within them.

  • Before the development of recombinant DNA technology for protein synthesis in prokaryotes, only limited quantities of impure IFNs were available;
  • However, female infertility will usually be a result of the drug triggering early menopause;
  • Initially, scientists thought there was only one interferon protein, but subsequent research showed that there are many different interferon proteins;
  • Intrathecal interferon in multiple sclerosis.

Further production of the virus is thereby inhibited and the infection is stemmed. Interferons also have immunoregulatory functions—they inhibit B- lymphocyte B-cell activation, enhance T-lymphocyte T-cell activity, and increase the cellular-destruction capability of natural killer cells.

These interferons have been classified into two types: This division is based on the type of cell that produces the interferon and the functional characteristics of the protein.

  • Scheinfeld N, Lehman DS;
  • Hauschild A, Petres-Ounsche C;
  • However, as little as is known of the mechanism of antiviral actions of interferons, there is even less understood about their effectiveness, such as it is, in cancer therapy;
  • HCV is a widespread infection caused by contaminated blood products or drug injection with contaminated needles;
  • After binding, they are drawn inside the cell's cytoplasm , where they cause a series of reactions that produce other proteins that fight off disease.

Type I interferons can be produced by almost any cell upon stimulation by a virus; their primary function is to induce viral resistance in cells. Type II interferon is secreted only by natural killer cells and T lymphocytes; its main purpose is to signal the immune system to respond to infectious agents or cancerous growth.

  1. The production of quantities of interferon sufficient to carry out clinical trials with significant results was then possible, which led to some clarification of what the role of interferons might be in the treatment of human diseases. One of the common and potentially most serious side effects of treatment with interferon is depression.
  2. The first interferon prepared by this procedure yielded a single band of Mr 17,500 on polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis, and the antiviral activity was associated with the single protein band 6. Interferons are differentiated primarily through their amino acid sequence.
  3. These latter proteins underlie not only the antitumor and immunoregulatory actions but also the antiviral effects of IFNs. A greater insight into how interferons bring about these clinically useful activities may well lead to the development of pharmacologically active agents which are more specific and potent in their biological effects than are the interferons themselves.
  4. Chronic HCV infection may cause serious hepatic malfunction which eventually results in cirrhosis of the liver and in life-threatening oesophageal varices. Milk casein was substituted for human or bovine serum in the culture medium.

Research conducted in the 1970s revealed that these substances could not only prevent viral infection but also suppress the growth of cancers in some laboratory animals.

Hopes were raised that interferon might prove to be a wonder drug able to cure a wide variety of diseases, but its serious side effects, which include flulike symptoms of fever and fatigue as well as a decrease in the production of blood cells by the bone marrowdeflated expectations for its use against less serious diseases.

Interferons

Despite these setbacks, in the 1980s alpha interferon came into use, in low doses, to treat hairy-cell leukemia a rare form of blood cancer and, in higher doses, to combat Kaposi sarcomawhich frequently appears in AIDS patients.

The alpha form also has been approved for treating the viral infections hepatitis B, hepatitis C non-A, non-B hepatitisand genital warts condylomata acuminata. The beta form of interferon is mildly effective in treating the relapsing-remitting form of multiple sclerosis. Gamma interferon is used to treat chronic granulomatous diseasea hereditary condition in which white blood cells fail to kill bacteria.

Learn More in these related Britannica articles:

  1. Another group of proteins that provide protection are the interferons, which inhibit the replication of many—but not all—viruses. Use of interferon-alpha in laryngeal papillomatosis.
  2. High blood pressure A 2010 review published in Digestive Diseases and Sciences, looked at four cases where people had received long-term interferon treatment.
  3. Interferon-gamma is the only type II interferon, classified as such because of its unique amino acid sequence.
  4. Milk casein was substituted for human or bovine serum in the culture medium.