- Top of page
- The double-edged sword of IFN-I
- Virus-induced partial lymphocyte activation and associated IFN-I exhaustion
- Hypothesis: Type I IFN exhaustion serves to increase the resistance of virally infected mice against secondary bacterial infections
- Experimental approach
Type I interferons (IFN-I) have been known for decades for their indispensable role in curtailing viral infections. It is, however, now also increasingly recognized that IFN-I is detrimental to the host in combating a number of bacterial infections. We have previously reported that viral infections induce partial lymphocyte activation, characterized by significant increases in the cell surface expression of CD69 and CD86, but not CD25. This systemic partial activation of lymphocytes, mediated by IFN-I, is rapid and is followed by a period of IFN-I unresponsiveness. Here we propose that IFN-I exhaustion that occurs soon after a primary viral infection may be a host response protecting it from secondary bacterial infections.