Type I IFN induces IL-10 production in an IL-27-independent manner and blocks responsiveness to IFN-γ for production of IL-12 and bacterial killing in Mycobacterium tuberculosis-infected macrophages

More about Open Access at the Crick


Tuberculosis, caused by the intracellular bacterium Mycobacterium tuberculosis, currently causes ∼1.4 million deaths per year, and it therefore remains a leading global health problem. The immune response during tuberculosis remains incompletely understood, particularly regarding immune factors that are harmful rather than protective to the host. Overproduction of the type I IFN family of cytokines is associated with exacerbated tuberculosis in both mouse models and in humans, although the mechanisms by which type I IFN promotes disease are not well understood. We have investigated the effect of type I IFN on M. tuberculosis-infected macrophages and found that production of host-protective cytokines such as TNF-α, IL-12, and IL-1β is inhibited by exogenous type I IFN, whereas production of immunosuppressive IL-10 is promoted in an IL-27-independent manner. Furthermore, much of the ability of type I IFN to inhibit cytokine production was mediated by IL-10. Additionally, type I IFN compromised macrophage activation by the lymphoid immune response through severely disrupting responsiveness to IFN-γ, including M. tuberculosis killing. These findings describe important mechanisms by which type I IFN inhibits the immune response during tuberculosis.

Journal details

Volume 193
Issue number 7
Pages 3600-3612
Publication date