Interferon alpha

Author: Prof. Dr. med. Peter Altmeyer

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Last updated on: 11.12.2023

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alfa-Interferon; alpha-Interferon; IFN-alfa; IFN-alpha; IFN α; IFN-α; INF alpha; interferon alpha; Interferon-alpha; Interferon-α; Leukocyte Interferon; α Interferon

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Cytokines (protein) produced by leukocytes which are formed in human (and animal) cells as defence proteins against viruses, chlamydiae, bacteria and some protozoa. The approximately 20 known alpha-interferons are structurally similar, but only 80% homologous.

General information
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Formation of interferon alpha: The formation of INF-alpha is stimulated by interferon inducers (as is the case with the other interferons). These include all viruses, bacterial endotoxins, rickettsiae, mycoplasmas, PIlze, phythaemagglutinins and others.

Effects: Enhancement of the non-specific humoral defense in viral infections as well as enhancement of the expression of HLA class I antigens. Promotion of cellular cytotoxicity. Stimulation of CD8 cells. The interferon molecule does not act directly but via the formation of an intermediate substance, the "translation inhibitory protein", which blocks virus replication in the host cell.

Synthetically produced derivatives of interferon alfa are used systemically for undifferentiated nasopharyngeal carcinoma, malignant melanoma, viral encephalitis, herpes zoster generalisatus and varicella in immunocompromised patients.

IFN alfa derivatives are used topically for the post-treatment of condylomata acuminata, among other things.

Outgoing links (2)

Acuminate condyloma; Cytokines;


Last updated on: 11.12.2023