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Interferon Downregulates Superoxide Dismutase Enzyme in Liver

Scientists from the Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (CeMM) have discovered that some of the liver damage associated with viral hepatitis is actually caused by type I interferons (IFN-I). IFNs are generally accepted as beneficial proteins that help combat infection, but in this study led by Andreas Bergthaler, the research team found that the interferons were actually suppressing the superoxide dismutase (SOD) enzyme, a molecule that helps prevent reactive oxygen species (free radicals) from collecting in the liver cells.

Despite this unsettling finding, the team used the newfound information to determine if they could slow or reverse this suppressive force. By introducing an antibody to the interferon proteins, they were able to prevent the IFNs from downregulating SOD, effectively reducing cell death due to the accumulation of free radicals.

Click here to read more about this research from the news center at CeMM.