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The improved understanding of the molecular basis of innate immunity have led to the identification of type I interferons (IFNs), particularly IFN-α, as central mediators in the pathogenesis of several Immune-mediated inflammatory diseases (IMIDs) such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), systemic sclerosis, inflammatory myositis and Sjögren's syndrome. Here, we review the main data regarding the opportunity to target type I IFNs for the treatment of IMIDs. Type I IFNs and their downstream pathways can be targeted pharmacologically in several manners. One approach is to use monoclonal antibodies against IFNs or the IFN-receptors (IFNARs, such as with anifrolumab). The downstream signaling pathways of type I IFNs also contain several targets of interest in IMIDs, such as JAK1 and Tyk2. Of these, anifrolumab is licensed and JAK1/Tyk2 inhibitors are in phase III trials in SLE. Targeting IFN-Is for the treatment of SLE is already a reality and in the near future may prove useful in other IMIDs. IFN assays will find a role in routine clinical practice for the care of IMIDs as further validation work is completed and a greater range of targeted therapies becomes available.

Original publication




Journal article


Joint bone spine

Publication Date





Autoimmune diseases, Immunomodulating agents, Interferons, Review, Sjogren's syndrome, Systemic lupus erythematosus