Down syndrome (DS) is characterized by a collection of clinical features including intellectual disability, congenital malformations, and susceptibility to infections and autoimmune diseases. While the presence of an extra chromosome 21 is known to cause DS, the precise genetic annotation linked to specific clinical features is largely missing. However, there is growing evidence that two genes located on chromosome 21, IFNAR1 and IFNAR2, play an important role in disease pathogenesis. These genes encode the two subunits of the receptor for type I interferons (IFN-I), a group of potent antiviral and pro-inflammatory cytokines. Human monogenic diseases caused by uncontrolled IFN-I production and response have been well characterized, and they clinically overlap with DS but also have notable differences. Herein, we review the literature characterizing the role of IFN-I in DS and compare and contrast DS to other IFN-mediated conditions. The existing IFN-I literature serves as a rich resource for testable hypotheses to elucidate disease mechanisms in DS and is likely to open novel therapeutic avenues.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-205
Number of pages10
JournalCurrent Opinion in Immunology
StatePublished - Oct 2021


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