Gamma interferon is dispensable for neopterin production in vivo.
Previous studies have indicated that neopterin is synthesized in vitro by human monocyte-derived macrophages and dendritic cells upon stimulation with gamma interferon (IFN-gamma). Neopterin production under specific conditions in vitro has also been obtained upon stimulation with IFN-alpha and/or IFN-beta. However, it is unknown if any IFN-gamma-independent neopterin synthesis is possible in vivo. In the present study we investigated the serum neopterin concentrations in patients affected by the syndrome of Mendelian susceptibility to mycobacterial disease (MSMD). Indeed, this syndrome is characterized by deeply impaired or absent IFN-gamma production or function due to severe mutations in molecules involved in IFN-gamma/interleukin-12 (IL-12)/IL-23-dependent pathway. Serum neopterin levels were measured by an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay in 27 patients with MSMD. We found that serum neopterin levels are elevated in the complete absence of IFN-gamma activity due either to a complete deficiency of its receptor or to deleterious mutations of IL-12 or its receptor. These data clearly indicate that, as reported from in vitro studies, other stimuli are able to induce neopterin synthesis in vivo. Consequently, neopterin cannot be used as means of diagnosis of MSMD due to IFN-gamma-, IL-12-, and IL-23-dependent pathway defects.
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