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Commentary

Neutrophils and interferon-α-producing cells: who produces interferon in lupus?

Patrice Decker

Author Affiliations

EA4222, Li2P, University of Paris 13, 74 rue Marcel Cachin, 93017 Bobigny, France

Arthritis Research & Therapy 2011, 13:118  doi:10.1186/ar3345

Published: 6 July 2011

Abstract

Interferon-α plays a crucial role in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus. Nevertheless, the different human cell types producing this cytokine as well as the stimuli inducing its production have not been completely characterized. So far, a subpopulation of dendritic cells activated by immune complexes has been identified as major producers of interferon-α in patients with lupus. However, those cells represent a minor population and some studies have reported the secretion of interferon-α by other cells. On the other hand, more than 50% of blood leukocytes are neutrophils and their functions are still not fully understood. Recent data suggest that neutrophils, though usually not considered interferon-α-producing cells, may represent an unexpected source of this cytokine in response to some lupus stimuli.