Type I interferons (IFNs) have therapeutic potential in CNS autoimmune diseases, such as uveitis, but the molecular mechanisms remain unclear. Using a T cell-transfer model of experimental autoimmune uveitis (EAU), we found that IFN-α/β treatment inhibited the migration of IFN-γ-producing pathogenic CD4+ T cells to effector sites. IFN-α/β upregulated the expression of the cognate ligands CXCL9, CXCL10, and CXCL11, causing ligand-mediated downregulation of CXCR3 expression and effector T cell retention in the spleen. Accordingly, type I IFN did not alter EAU progression in CXCR3−/− mice. In uveitis patients, disease exacerbations correlated with reduced serum IFN-α concentrations. IFN-α/β reduced CXCR3 expression and migration by human effector T cells, and these parameters were associated with the therapeutic efficacy of IFN-α in uveitis patients. Our findings provide insight into the molecular basis of type I IFN therapy for CNS autoimmune diseases and identify CXCR3 as a biomarker for effective type I IFN immunotherapy.
- type I interferon
- experimental autoimmune uveitis
- human uveitis