Type-1 interferons (IFNs) are pleiotropic cytokines that signal through the type-1 IFN receptor (IFNAR1). Recent literature has implicated the type-1 IFNs in disorders of the CNS. In this study, we have investigated the role of type-1 IFNs in neuroinflammation following traumatic brain injury (TBI). Using a controlled cortical impact model, TBI was induced in 8- to 10-week-old male C57BL/6J WT and IFNAR1(-/-) mice and brains were excised to study infarct volume, inflammatory mediator release via quantitative PCR analysis and immune cell profile via immunohistochemistry. IFNAR1(-/-) mice displayed smaller infarcts compared with WT mice after TBI. IFNAR1(-/-) mice exhibited an altered anti-inflammatory environment compared with WT mice, with significantly reduced levels of the proinflammatory mediators TNFα, IL-1β and IL-6, an up-regulation of the anti-inflammatory mediator IL-10 and an increased activation of resident and peripheral immune cells after TBI. WT mice injected intravenously with an anti-IFNAR1 blocking monoclonal antibody (MAR1) 1 h before, 30 min after or 30 min and 2 d after TBI displayed significantly improved histological and behavioral outcome. Bone marrow chimeras demonstrated that the hematopoietic cells are a peripheral source of type-1 IFNs that drives neuroinflammation and a worsened TBI outcome. Type-1 IFN mRNA levels were confirmed to be significantly altered in human postmortem TBI brains. Together, these data demonstrate that type-1 IFN signaling is a critical pathway in the progression of neuroinflammation and presents a viable therapeutic target for the treatment of TBI.
- traumatic brain injury
- type-1 interferon