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Volume 11 (2011), Pages 2071-2090
Review Article

Overlapping, Additive and Counterregulatory Effects of Type II and I Interferons on Myeloid Dendritic Cell Functions

Department of Infectious, Parasitic and Immune-mediated Diseases, Istituto Superiore di Sanità, 00161 Rome, Italy

Received 8 April 2011; Accepted 27 September 2011

Academic Editor: Fulvio D'Acquisto

Copyright © 2011 Loredana Frasca and Roberto Lande. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Dendritic cells (DCs) are central player in immunity by bridging the innate and adaptive arms of the immune system (IS). Interferons (IFNs) are one of the most important factors that regulate both innate and adaptive immunity too. Thus, the understanding of how type II and I IFNs modulate the immune-regulatory properties of DCs is a central issue in immunology. In this paper, we will address this point in the light of the most recent literature, also highlighting the controversial data reported in the field. According to the wide literature available, type II as well as type I IFNs appear, at the same time, to collaborate, to induce additive effects or overlapping functions, as well as to counterregulate each one's effects on DC biology and, in general, the immune response. The knowledge of these effects has important therapeutic implications in the treatment of infectious/autoimmune diseases and cancer and indicates strategies for using IFNs as vaccine adjuvants and in DC-based immune therapeutic approaches.