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Dysregulation of type I interferons (IFNs) has been implicated in the pathogenesis of systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) since the late 1970s. The majority of SLE patients demonstrate evidence of type I IFN pathway activation; however, studies attempting to address the relationship between type I IFN signature and SLE disease activity have yielded conflicting results. In addition to type I IFNs, type II and III IFNs may overlap and also contribute to the IFN signature. Different genetic backgrounds lead to overproduction of type I IFNs in SLE and contribute to the breakdown of peripheral tolerance by activation of antigen-presenting myeloid dendritic cells, thus triggering the expansion and differentiation of autoreactive lymphocytes. The consequence of the continuous stimulation of the immune system is manifested in different organ systems typical of SLE (e.g., mucocutaneous and cardiovascular involvement). After the discovery of the type I IFN signature, a number of different strategies have been developed to downregulate the IFN system in SLE patients, finally leading to the successful trial of anifrolumab, the second biologic to be approved for the treatment of SLE in 10 years. In this review, we will discuss the bench to bedside translation of the type I IFN pathway and put forward some issues that remain unresolved when selecting SLE patients for treatment with biologics targeting type I IFNs.


Tao Ming Sim, Siying Jane Ong, Anselm Mak, Sen Hee Tay. Type I Interferons in Systemic Lupus Erythematosus: A Journey from Bench to Bedside. International journal of molecular sciences. 2022 Feb 24;23(5)

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PMID: 35269647

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