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Interferon gamma is distinct from interferon alpha and beta. It functions not so much as an antiviral, but as a signal between T-helper lymphocytes and mononuclear phagocytes.
It is a glycoprotein produced by:
- T-helper lymphocytes: by far the biggest source
- NK cells
- CD8+ cells
- mononuclear phagocytes
T-helper lymphocytes produce interferon gamma in response to interleukin-2 or antigen stimulation.
Its in vitro effects include:
- production of an antiviral state
- cytostatic for tumour cells
- activation of mononuclear phagocytes:
- superoxide anion production
- MHC class II expression
- intracellular killing
- activation of endothelial cells
- induction of acute phase response
- increased class I and II MHC expression in a range of cells
Clinically, it is currently used for the treatment of chronic granulomatous disease.
Last reviewed 01/2018