IFN-β, a type I IFN, is widely used for the treatment of MS. However, the mechanisms behind its therapeutic efficacy are not well understood. Using a murine model of MS, EAE, we demonstrate that the Th17-mediated development of autoimmune disease is constrained by Toll–IL-1 receptor domain–containing adaptor inducing IFN-β–dependent (TRIF-dependent) type I IFN production and its downstream signaling pathway. Mice with defects in TRIF or type I IFN receptor (IFNAR) developed more severe EAE. Notably, these mice exhibited marked CNS inflammation, as manifested by increased IL-17 production. In addition, IFNAR-dependent signaling events were essential for negatively regulating Th17 development. Finally, IFN-β–mediated IL-27 production by innate immune cells was critical for the immunoregulatory role of IFN-β in the CNS autoimmune disease. Together, our findings not only may provide a molecular mechanism for the clinical benefits of IFN-β in MS but also demonstrate a regulatory role for type I IFN induction and its downstream signaling pathways in limiting Th17 development and autoimmune inflammation.
Beichu Guo, Elmer Y. Chang, Genhong Cheng
The TRIF pathway limits Th17 development through induction of antiinflammatory cytokine IL-27.