Although signal transducer and activator of transcription 1 (STAT1) is an essential signaling molecule in many IFN-α-regulated processes, some biological responses to IFN-α can occur independently of STAT1. To establish the role of STAT1 in mediating the biological actions of IFN-α in the CNS, transgenic mice [termed glial fibrillary acidic protein (GFAP)-IFN-α] with astrocyte production of IFN-α were bred to be null for the STAT1 gene. Surprisingly, GFAP-IFN-α mice deficient for STAT1 developed earlier onset and more severe neurological disease with increased lethality compared with GFAP-IFN-α mice sufficient for STAT1. Whereas the brain of 2- to 3-month-old GFAP-IFN-α mice showed little, if any abnormality, the brain from GFAP-IFN-α mice deficient for STAT1 had severe neurodegeneration, inflammation, calcification with increased apoptosis, and glial activation. However, the cerebral expression of a number of IFN-regulated STAT1-dependent genes increased in GFAP-IFN-α mice but was reduced markedly in GFAP-IFN-α STAT1null mice. Of many other signaling molecules examined, STAT3 alone was activated significantly in the brain of GFAP-IFN-α STAT1-null mice. Thus, in the absence of STAT1, alternative signaling pathways mediate pathophysiological actions of IFN-α in the living brain, giving rise to severe encephalopathy. Finally, STAT1 or a downstream component of the JAK/STAT pathway may protect against such IFN-α-mediated injury in the CNS.
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Dec 10 2002|