Interferon-gamma (IFN-γ) is a pleotropic cytokine released by T-lymphocytes and natural killer cells. Normally, these cells do not traverse the blood-brain barrier at appreciable levels and, as such, IFN-γ is generally undetectable within the central nervous system (CNS). Nevertheless, in response to CNS infections, as well as during certain disorders in which the CNS is affected, T-cell traffic across the blood-brain barrier increases considerably, thereby exposing neuronal and glial cells to the potent effects of IFN-γ. A large portion of this article is devoted to the substantial circumstantial and experimental evidence that suggests that IFN-γ plays an important role in the pathogenesis of the demyelinating disorder multiple sclerosis (MS) and its animal model experimental allergic encephalomyelitis (EAE). Moreover, the biochemical and physiological effects of IFN-γ are discussed in the context of the potential consequences of such activities on the developing and mature nervous systems.
- Neural development
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience