MicroRNA’s Role in Interferon’s Contribution to Inflammation

Interferons (IFNs) are proteins produced by immune cells when the immune system is activated. They send different instructions to cells depending on the needs of the immune response; this can lead to cells making certain inflammatory proteins. IFNs communicate with the cells by linking up with receptor proteins along the cell surface, the way a key fits into a lock. This action sends a signal into the cell that eventually either turns on or turns off the process we recognize as inflammation.

There are a number of signals and switches along the communication pathways that control inflammation, leading to the production of interferons and the ways in which interferons communicate with inflammatory cells. A group of very small substances called micro-RNA (miRNA) are thought to help in the regulation of inflammation in several ways. One way may be by interfering in the process by which genes (the genetic blueprint for the body) are translated into actual proteins (the machinery of the body).

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