Differential transcriptional responses to interferon-α and interferon-γ in primary human hepatocytes

Xiaosong He, Santosh Nanda, Xuhuai Ji, Gloria M. Calderon-Rodriguez, Harry B. Greenberg, T. Jake Liang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Interferon (IFN) plays a central role in the innate and adaptive antiviral immune responses. While IFN-α is currently approved for treating chronic hepatitis B and hepatitis C, in limited studies, IFN-γ has not been shown to be effective for chronic hepatitis B or C. To identify the potential mechanism underlying the differential antiviral effects of IFN-α and IFN-γ, we used cDNA microarray to profile the global transcriptional response to IFN-α and IFN-γ in primary human hepatocytes, the target cell population of hepatitis viruses. Our results reveal distinct patterns of gene expression induced by these 2 cytokines. Overall, IFN-α induces more genes than IFN-γ at the transcriptional level. Distinct sets of genes were induced by IFN-α and IFN-γ with limited overlaps. IFN-α induces gene transcription at an early time point (6 h) but not at a later time point (18 h), while the effects of IFN-γ are more prominent at 18 h than at 6 h, suggesting a delayed transcriptional response to IFN-γ in the hepatocytes. These findings indicate differential actions of IFN-α and IFN-γ in the context of therapeutic intervention for chronic viral infections in the liver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-320
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Interferon and Cytokine Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Immunology
  • Virology
  • Cell Biology


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