Journal of leukocyte biology vol:70 issue:5 pages:745-8
Although interferon (IFN)-beta has shown a significant clinical benefit in multiple sclerosis (MS), its mechanism of action remains unclear. We found that IFN-beta treatment of patients with MS resulted in a significant increase in apoptotic cell death (measured by annexin V staining and nuclear fragmentation) of monocyte-derived macrophages, as compared with cells derived from patients before treatment. Stimulation of the cells with IFN-beta in vitro resulted in an even further increase of annexin V binding, as well as increased Fas (CD 95, APO-1) expression. However, no increased Fas expression, apoptotic monocytes, or monocytopenia were observed upon in vivo treatment. This indicates that IFN-beta does not deliver a death signal to monocytes but rather primes for subsequent macrophage apoptosis upon activation or differentiation.