Organ-Specific Hematopoietic Changes Induced by a Recombinant Human Interferon-α in Mice. ROSENTHAL, G. J., STRANAHAN, R. P., ILL, THOMPSON, M., BLAIR, P., GERMOLEC, D. R., COMMENT, C. E., SCHWAB, K., AND LUSTER, M. I. (1990). Fundam. Appl. Toxicol. 14, 666-675. Interferon-a (IFN-α) is a naturally occurring cytokine that mediates numerous biological activities and has demonstrated therapeutic potential in a variety of malignancies. Encouraging activity against HIV-1 replication has also been observed with IFN-α in the treatment of AIDS, although hematotoxicity has been a frequently observed side effect. In addition, in vitro studies have suggested that IFN-α may function as a down-regulator of myelopoiesis. A recombinant hybrid of subtypes of human IFN-α, rHuIFN-αA/D, has antiviral activity in mu-rine cells in vitro and In vivo. This study examines the effect of acute and subchronic exposure to rHuIFN-αA/D on hemopoietic and immune parameters in C57B1/6 mice. IFN-a was administered ip at 0, 1000, 10,000, and 100,000 units/day for either 1 or 10 consecutive days. Many of the known effects of IFN-α in humans such as anemia, leukopenia, and thrombocytopenia were observed in mice following subchronic exposure, with the latter two effects also manifested following acute exposure. Further analysis showed that this leukopenia was not selective. Both splenic and bone marrow cells were examined following 10 days of dosing with the high dose of IFN-α. Lymphocytes were reduced in both compartments, while granulocytes were increased in both compartments. Bone marrow cells programmed to differentiate into granulocytes (CFU-G) were suppressed, while macrophage progenitors (CFU-M) were stimulated. Erythroid cells decreased in the marrow but increased in the spleen, suggesting that the microenvironmerit may play a significant role in the effect of IFN-α. The proliferative capacity of both B and T splenic lymphocytes was significantly suppressed in a dose-related fashion following multiple exposure to IFN-a. Clinically, IFN-a is most often given in multiple doses and the present data suggest that such a regimen is toxic to both erythroid and myeloid cells, as well as being immunotoxic to splenic B and T lymphocytes.
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