Infergen stimulated macrophages restrict Mycobacterium tuberculosis growth by autophagy and release of nitric oxide


IFN alfacon-1 (Infergen) is a synthetic form of Interferon (IFN)-α2b. Infergen has immunomodulatory activity and is effective against hepatitis C virus. However, the effect of Infergen (IFG) on Mycobacterium tuberculosis (Mtb) has not yet been reported. Therefore, for the first time, we have studied the influence of IFG in constraining the survival of Mtb in human macrophages. We observed that IFG significantly enhanced the maturation and activation of macrophages. Further, it substantially augmented the secretion of IL-6, Nitric Oxide (NO) and antigen uptake. Moreover, macrophages exhibited remarkably higher bactericidal activity, as evidenced by reduction in the Mtb growth. Infergen-mediated mechanism was different from the type-1 interferons; since it worked through the activation of NF-κB, phosphorylation of STAT-3 and Akt-PI3K that improved the bactericidal activity through autophagy and NO release. In future, IFG immunotherapy can be a novel strategy for treating patients and controlling TB

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