Interferon-alpha (IFN-α) is a cytokine of 188 amino acids (molecular weight, 21.5 kDa) mainly involved in an innate immune response against viral infection. IFN-α, produced by leukocytes, is a type I interferon which binds to a specific cell surface receptor complex known as the IFN-α receptor (IFNAR) that consists of IFNAR1 and IFNAR2. IFN-α is mainly employed as a standard therapy for a number of tumors and viral infections. Both hepatitis B and hepatitis C are treated with IFN-α, often in combination with other antiviral drugs.
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How Type I Interferons Work in Multiple SclerosisThere is a growing body of evidence that suggests that type I IFNs may be a potential therapeutic target in multiple sclerosis. Several studies have shown that blocking type I IFN signaling can reduce inflammation and improve myelin repair in animal models of multiple sclerosis. In addition, some clinical trials have shown drugs that block type I IFN signaling may be effective in treating multiple sclerosis patients.
In multiple sclerosis, type I interferons (IFNs) are thought to play a key role in the development and progression of the disease. MS is an autoimmune disease in which the immune system attacks the myelin sheath, the protective coating that surrounds nerve fibers. This damage can lead to a variety of symptoms, including fatigue, vision problems, muscle weakness, and difficulty walking.