Type I IFNs (IFN-Is) are powerful cytokines. They provide remarkable protection against viral infections, but their indiscriminate production causes severe selfinflicted damage that can be lethal, particularly in early development. In humans, inappropriately high IFN-I levels caused by defects in the regulatory mechanisms that control IFN-I production and response result in clinical conditions known as type I interferonopathies. In essence, type I interferonopathies define the upper limit of safe, IFN-related inflammation in vivo. Conversely, the loss of IFN-I responsiveness increases susceptibility to viral infections, but, surprisingly, most affected individuals survive despite these inborn errors of immunity. These findings suggest that too much IFN-I early in life is toxic, but that insensitivity to IFN-I is perhaps not the death sentence it was initially thought to be. Human genetic analyses have suggested that seemingly insignificant levels of IFN-regulated gene activity may be sufficient for most of the antiviral defenses used by humans in natura. The Journ Al of Immunology, 2018, 201: 3479-3485.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3479-3485
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Immunology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 15 Dec 2018


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