Acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS) is accompanied by severe lung inflammation induced by various diseases. Despite the severity of symptoms, therapeutic strategies for this pathologic condition are still poorly developed. Interferon (IFN)-α is well known as an antiviral cytokine and low-dose IFN-α has been reported to show antiinflammatory effects. Therefore, we investigated how this cytokine affected ARDS in a mouse model. C57BL/6 mice received sequential intratracheal administration of α-galactosylceramide (α-GalCer) and lipopolysaccharide (LPS), which resulted in the development of fulminant ARDS. These mice were then treated intranasally with IFN-α and their survival, lung weight, pathological findings, and cytokine production were evaluated. Administration of low-dose IFN-α prolonged survival of fulminant ARDS mice, but higher doses of IFN-α did not. Histological analysis showed that low-dose IFN-α treatment improved findings of diffuse alveolar damage in fulminant ARDS mice, which was associated with reduction in the wet/dry (W/D) lung weight ratio. Furthermore, IFN-γ production in the lungs was significantly reduced in IFN-α-treated mice, compared with control mice, but tumor necrosis factor (TNF)-α production was almost equivalent for both groups. Low-dose IFN-α shows antiinflammatory and therapeutic effects in a mouse model of fulminant ARDS, and reduced production of IFN-γ in the lung may be involved in the beneficial effect of this treatment.
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