Background: Patients with myelodysplasia may have autoimmune manifestations (AIM). Interferon regulatory factor-1 (IRF-1) is a transcription factor involved in interferon signalling, leukaemogenesis, and the development of the immune system.
Objectives: To determine whether IRF-1 is implicated in the pathophysiology of AIM in myelodysplasia.
Methods: 14 patients with myelodysplasia were studied, seven with AIM and seven without. Five patients with vasculitis and seven normal subjects served as controls. The expression of IRF-1 was studied in bone marrow mononuclear cells taken from patients and controls, using a relative quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction.
Results: A 10-fold reduction in full length IRF-1 mRNA was detected in the myelodysplasia patients without AIM compared with the normal controls. In contrast, the group with AIM had increased IRF-1 transcripts, to a level almost equal to that observed in patients with vasculitis and normal controls.
Conclusions: Myelodysplasia patients without IRF-1 expression had a decreased incidence of AIM. Thus the absence of IRF-1 transcription factor appears to protect against the development of autoimmunity in myelodysplasia.