IFN-a -->
medical dictionary


One of the type I interferons produced by peripheral blood leukocytes or lymphoblastoid cells when exposed to live or inactivated virus, double-stranded RNA, or bacterial products.

It is the major interferon produced by virus-induced leukocyte cultures and, in addition to its pronounced antiviral activity, causes activation of NK cells. It is used experimentally in the treatment of hairy-cell leukaemia.

A number of different subtypes exist that are elaborated by leukocytes in response to viral infection or stimulation with double-stranded RNA; IFN-alpha-2A and -2B are protein products made by recombinant DNA techniques and are used as antineoplastic agents.

See: interferon-alpha 2a, interferon-alpha 2b

Synonyms: leukocyte interferon.

Pharmacological action: antineoplastic agent, antiviral agent.

Abbreviation: IFN-a

(20 Sep 2002)