(Science: cytokine) One of the type i interferons produced by peripheral blood leukocytes or lymphoblastoid cells when exposed to live or inactivated virus, double-stranded rna, or bacterial products.
It is the major interferon produced by virus-induced leukocyte cultures and, in addition to its pronounced antiviral activity, causes activation of nk cells. It is used experimentally in the treatment of hairy-cell leukaemia.
a number of different subtypes exist that are elaborated by leukocytes in response to viral infection or stimulation with double-stranded RNA; IFN-alpha-2A and -2B are protein products made by recombinant dna techniques and are used as antineoplastic agents.
See: interferon-alpha 2a, interferon-alpha 2b
Synonym: leukocyte interferon.
Pharmacological action: antineoplastic agent, antiviral agent.